My summer residency in L.A. . . .  and the deconstruction of a painting . . .

I am a painter but I’ve been interested to work in other media in a way that relates to my paintings. In June, 2017, I was a resident artist at Otis College of Art and Design’s inaugural L.A. Summer Residency for working artists and designers where, for three weeks, I had the opportunity to utilize Otis’s “labs”—model making, ceramics, wood shop, metalworking, photography, book arts, printmaking, and so on. I arrived at Otis prepared to paint and, at the same time, open to experimentation in other areas.

I was interested in the built environment and nature’s presence in it. I found my subject in a mature tree growing in a median strip of a busy boulevard near LAX. The tree’s canopy spreads across both lanes of traffic and its understory has been pruned horizontally so that buses and trucks can pass underneath. I took snap shots and made ink drawings of the tree, and I recorded a short video of traffic flowing below the tree. I made a painting of the tree in its environment—and decided to deconstruct its shape-based composition in various ways. I converted a line drawing to a vector graphic and had the sixteen pieces of my composition cut out of MDF. I reconstructed the pieces into a 3D wall-mounted sculpture and made a painting of the sculpture. I was able to preserve the paper-thin, charred remains of my lasercut contour drawing as a wall-mounted piece of 3D line art. I made vacuum-molded white polystryene relief molds of one of my painting panels and then I painted shapes on them; I made a series of relief molds of the painting panel with ten of the shapes arranged on it in various compositions; and an experiment involving damp printmaking paper in the vacuum mold led me down to the printmaking studio to make a series of blind debossed prints from my MDF pieces. I visited the ceramics lab and rolled out paperclay as if it were piecrust, transferred my drawing to it, cut out the sixteen shapes with a kitchen knife, worked them by hand to smooth the edges and then the pieces were fired. Back in my home studio I plan to finish the surfaces and install them as a reliquary of sorts. Meanwhile, I painted two more tree paintings (and a painting of an interior space in the studio building), and repeated the process of sending the contour drawings to the lasercutter so that I can continue to deconstruct and reconstruct paintings in my Connecticut studio.


Tree in the built environment (CA 6.6.17)
2017
Indian ink on paper
6 x 6 in.


Recollection, No. 94 (Los Angeles)
2017
Acryla gouache and graphite on gessoed panel
12 x 12 in.


Reconstructed, Recollection, No. 94 (Los Angeles)
2017
MDF and wood glue
13.5 x 9 x 1 in.


Recollection, No. 97 (Los Angeles)
2017
Acryla gouache and graphite on gessoed panel
8 x 8 in.


What remains, Recollection, No. 94 (Los Angeles)
2017
MDF
12 x 12 x .25 in.


Four parts, Recollection, No. 94 (Los Angeles)
2017
Acryla gouache and graphite on molded polystyrene
12 x 12 x .75 in.


Ten parts, No. 1—Recollection, No. 94 (Los Angeles)
2017
Molded polystyrene
18 x 18 x .75 in.


Part 5—Recollection, No. 94 (Los Angeles)
2017
Molded polystyrene
6.25 x 6 x .25 in.


Part 4—Recollection, No. 94 (Los Angeles)
2017
Blind debossed print on paper
8 x 7.5 in.


Deconstructed, Recollection, No. 94 (Los Angeles)
2017
Fired paper clay (and taco chip)
16 pieces, sizes variable (.5 x .125 in. to 8 x 12 in.)


Tree, Recollection, No. 94 (Los Angeles)
2017
Molded polystyrene
18 x 18 x .25 in.


Recollection, No. 95 (Los Angeles)
2017
Acryla gouache and graphite on gessoed panel
12 x 12 in.


Recollection, No. 98 (Los Angeles)
2017
Acryla gouache and graphite on gessoed panel
12 x 12 in.


Recollection, No. 96 (Los Angeles)
2017
Acryla gouache, Indian ink, and graphite on gessoed panel
8 x 8 in.