|VENETIAN PAINTINGS 2007
In the summer of 2007, I was granted a residency in Venice, Italy by The Emily Harvey Foundation. During this visit to Venice, I wandered the city daily to experience the wonders of the old-constant-art living an easy truce with the contemporary-temporary-worldwide art exhibit of the Venice Biennale.
The cost of art in terms of nature is always on my mind. The beauty of a city like Venice resulted only by the destruction of Europe's old growth forests. Very large trees were needed in the building of cathedrals, palaces, ships and forts. Venice, in the late 1500's, was buzzing with the construction of churches; churches created by man to glorify God for ending the plague. In a single church, one million old growth trees were sunk into the Venetian water past the silt into the hard pan. Tons upon tons of marble were placed on top of the wood foundation. Europe traded God's forests (with trees thousands of years old and the creatures that lived within) for buildings to worship God. Today, if a decision were given to me to cut down more old growth forests for sake of culture, I would not give up one tree in that forest, not for any reason. But I cannot resolve my love for both Venetian culture and for the trees. The only thing left is to meditate on the water and trees and ask ancient wood nymphs and river gods to enlighten me.
The river god came first and led me to the American Pavilion of the Venice Biennale. As part of the Felix Gonzales-Torres exhibit, I discovered "take away" prints for the visitors which were photographs of a dark ocean's surface that looked entirely like the water in the Grand Canal. I "appropriated" the posters as the grounds for my monotypes. I painted images of trees on glass in oil paint and printed on the posters. While working on the monotypes, the wood nymphs often whispered suggestions, directing my thoughts while bringing their sense of play and charm to the work.
I brought back 14 Water and Tree paintings with promise of more to come.
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