July 24 - August 23, 2015
Homage to Train Graffiti
Paintings and photographs
Helena Davis Gallery
Opening Reception for the Artists
Fourth Friday, July 24, 2015
Free and Open to the Public
Closing Artist Talk
Sunday, August 23, 2015
Free and Open to the Public
This series of what might be called "Train Paintings" began several years ago. I was first drawn to the geometry of trains viewed broadside, and then to the wonderful layers of peeling paint and rust. The latter I captured, at first, primarily in photos, but very soon the layers and textures found their way into my paintings. Reflections on those corroded, geometric broadsides added another layer of interest, as well as graffiti. Trains have long been a canvas for graffiti artists. I guess I am playing with that reality by painting the trains with graffiti on my "Canvas." Each year the emphasis changes ... sometimes it is reflections on train surfaces; sometimes just the surfaces themselves; sometimes the iconography on the train surfaces. Currently, I am particularly engaged by the linear design element ... and so have been working on two long rectangles that work together carrying the train image. Train graffiti, especially that of Mexican graffiti artists (I spend several months a year in Oaxaca, Mexico) is so flamboyantly spectacular that it begs to be preserved ... so I am doing my part by photographing, and painting, it. In general, trains to me are a fascinating, intoxicating, seemingly inexhaustible visual feast, calling me to photograph and to paint. The subject could just as easily be ancient walls, or old buildings, I guess, but something about trains is magical. They carry the mystery of time and travel, along with their visual beauty.
I have been a high school English teacher, a television journalist (even a news anchor, for a short period of time), and an attorney. My first love, however, has always been art, and in 2001 I retired from law practice to devote more time to painting.
I am almost entirely self-taught (my formal education was academic, not art-oriented), although I have taken numerous courses at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and the Hand Workshop (now the Visual Arts Center) in Richmond, Virginia, as well as spent numerous lovely summer weeks at Nimrod Hall Art Camp in Bath County, Virginia.
In Richmond, I was an active member of Artspace, an artist-run gallery, from 1992 until 2006. I was one of the key persons behind its controversial, pioneering move to its present location in Plant Zero, in Richmondís newly designated "Arts District in Manchester," an historic downtown area. I was president of Artspace for two years, then served as chair of the Exhibition Committee, inaugurating in 2005 the first annual radius250 show. I am currently a supporting, but non-active, member.
For several years my oil paintings followed two strains: those painted on site from life and those based on vintage photographs. Since 2009, however, I have become very interested in painting trains...their surfaces, their geometry, etc. The result is a series of paintings and photographs that have continued to evolve. Among other things, I incorporated my interest in vintage photos (see the "Album Paintings") into a series based on vintage photos of trains (see "Vintage Trains"). The paintings are based on the trains and trolleys important in the development of southern New Jersey, including Cape May. The "on site" or "plein air" paintings continue to be an ongoing interest, many painted in Oaxaca, Mexico, a wonderful place that we have traveled to for the past several years.