October 28, 2010–January 8, 2011
Artist Talk: Saturday, November 13, 2-4pm
Reception: Thursday, November 18, 6–9pm
591 Broad Street
Newark, NJ 07102-4403
“the salt is on the briar rose”
The summer has passed, but we are pretending still, and so ungloved we chafe our hands together to rub off morning’s chill. Now the time begins when lukewarm coffee keeps its steam, and garments discarded on entering give off a tangible, but fading warmth. Into this season of decay the hothouse sends its springtime offerings.
I am pleased to announce the opening of a new exhibition: The Hothouse. The show will be held at Aljira Center for Contemporary Art from October 28th until January 8th, 2011. The exhibition and the work contained represent a dramatic departure and a new direction which I am excited to share with you.
The title of the exhibit evokes a certain contained intensity, artifice or artificial; a person with a fragile, delicate constitution in need of coddling as in a ‘hothouse flower’. The Hothouse also seems an obvious metaphor for the studio. There one germinates not plants, but ideas, which can be as tender as the most rare and exotic passiflora. In the protected space of the studio thoughts and ideas are nurtured to give strength and form to their rarity. There they grow, develop and thrive.
In my studio I have been thinking a lot about time: in ways to reference time both within the medium of painting and without. And so I have moved from an implicit inclusion of time to a more explicit statement of duration made visible both by my choice of subject (flowers) and the presence of the “moving image” in the exhibition: a painting captured on film. Unmoving, unchanging, the filmed painting contrasts with the machine that supports its presence. The projector whirrs and clicks in perpetual motion reminding us, much like the ticking of a clock, that time is passing.
Flowers appear often as a subject in art and literature. In their beauty and decay they are an emblem of youth, age, mortality, time’s passing and time’s renewal. And though not many of us subscribe to the antiquated Victorian “language of the flowers”, red roses still signify passionate love. Today many of the resonances that flowers hold are personal and unique: memory blossoming from a dried rosebud as vividly as Proust’s Madeleine conjured up visions of his childhood. This is especially true as flowers are still the stuff of lover’s tokens, affectionate offerings and shared pleasures.
Flowers in vases also belong in the domestic realm, where they are more ornamental than essential. What has most inspired my recent choices of imagery has been reading of Georges Perec’s essays. Through his so called “infraordinary” and “invariables” he extolled both the metaphysical and the banal in the everyday. Perec focused on the overlooked and the undervalued: on the things which we cherish or throw away, on the things we see when we walk down the street, the clothes we wear, the basic objects useful from day to day and those personal totems imbued with a meaning utterly unapparent to others. As Perec says: “How can we speak of these ‘common things’, how rather, can we stalk them, how can we flush them out, rescue them from the mire in which they remain stuck, how can we give them a meaning, a tongue, so that they are at last able to speak of the way things are, the way we are?”