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Monday, July 13, 2020

“Easter Egg” in summer!

I was so pleased to be alerted to an article in Buffalo Rising newspaper which was a complete surprise. A local art mover and shaker noticed that my brother Symon had hung a Giclee print of koi from years ago on his balcony wall in the heart of Elmwood Village. The reviewer was very taken with the idea of displaying personal art for the public. I wrote him a note saying that my brother and I were following in our father’s footsteps. He updated the article, and voila! Text and pictures below.

A few days ago I posted on a special Buffalo Easter Egg that I came across during a walk in the Elmwood Village. Today I’m posting another Easter Egg in the form of a work of art adhered to the facade of a house. What I especially find interesting about this is that due to COVID-19, there is a dearth of art opportunities at hand. With shuttered galleries and studios, art does not abound as it once did. Therefore, public art has become more important than ever, even a little splash of art such as we see here.

It’s not often that we see a work of art as part of a neighborhood streetscape. Maybe an occasional work on a boarded up window, or atop an easel on a front porch. But to see a painting actually hanging on clapboard? I think it’s pretty neat.

What I love most about coming across this painting (there’s actually another work in the window), is that I was not expecting to see it. The creation drew my eyes to the house, where I also noticed the leaded glass windows, and other architectural details that might have escaped me.

There’s a very humanist element that is to be appreciated. It tells us a lot about the person who lives inside – an art appreciator and an artist him or herself. This is a neighborly action that is not only meant to be shared with people perched on the patio, but passersby as well.

After posting this, the artist Barbara Mink reached out to me to share the following:

I’m a member of the BSA but live and work in Ithaca NY. The “Flying Fish” is a giclĂ©e print of the original I had given my brother Symon almost ten years ago, when he and his wife Ellen lived in Buffalo. They then moved to LA for five years, where Symon worked as a first assistant cameraman in “the business”, and they just returned to Buffalo this year.

I was so happy they put the fish outside- our father, Irving Mink, was a well known abstract painter in the region while we were growing up, and we always had a painting on our porch (see inset right). I started painting in 1999 and have carried on the tradition in Ithaca (see inset left). I was very moved by your contextualizing the public display of art in the current Time of Covid: I know people are starving for gatherings, connections, and beauty. Whatever we can do as a community to lighten that burden even a little is so important. But just as important is having people notice and share.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Why this- why now?

At a recent opening of my show in Rochester, one relatively sophisticated viewer pointed out that some of the paintings looked like they were by different people. The organic, textured, flowing, hot colored abstract landscape next to three muted, resin coated circles and dots bothered him. 

Tenerife.  36x72

Specimens 30x30

Not me, though. Having come to painting late, I insisted on spending a few years going through many stages of representational rendering- flowers, fish, fruit, figures- and that’s just the ‘f’s- to prove to myself that I could. When I decided I had captured clouds and sunrises and the sea, I got rid of the horizon line- and I was painting abstractly, which had been my goal all along.

Rather than experiment in style pastiche or stages I think I paint in paragraphs. A new idea emerges, it gets done again, different iterations, then I revisit what I had thought was finished. When this essay is finished, I move on. Mark Rothko and Vassilly Kandinsky both started with 
small paintings that all looked like Chagall villages. Once they reached their abstract voices,  and the collectors responded, their dealers took all the early work off the market. Rothko’s early paintings now line the walls of his son Christopher Rothko on the Upper West Side.

But an even more important question might be why do we do in the times in which we live. I wrestle with this as a painter but also as a person who does not respond to didactic art. But art for art’s sake has its own power, both for the maker and for the viewer.

The painting I’ve called Remains of the Day should indeed be taken as a warning, with the suggestion of a mushroom cloud masquerading as a tree hovering over a midwestern town. But it’s also a play on line, on the muted color of ink soaking into unprimed canvas. Cascadilla was named after the fact, because of what looks like a waterfall and an arched bridge and walls of shale- but I painted it as a play of shapes and texture. The suggestion of Tuscan hill towns among the imaginary landscapes is due to a few horizontal lines that turn inchoate color into  landscapes.

Remains of the Day


Tuscan Hills
 My most recent work, which I'll be expanding into a novella,  is probably the best example of looking like it was done by a different person. But of course, the rigor of hard edged rendering is the same skill I used in doing watercolor flowers or oil still lives. The colors are my favorites throughout all my work, blues and reds and pinks,  just covering bigger and more discrete areas.

But why go from free and flowing abstracts to these? It's the anniversary of the moon walk, which is certainly at the tail end of the last midcentury, but I hadn't thought of that. I was looking at some old futuristic world's fair pictures, and saw that the Jetsons cartoon show was only on for a year, that could have been the inspiration. I have a book on Kandinsky from  20 years ago that I looked at AFTER I had done three of these paintings, and realized how similar they were. 

But most of all, the process of doing these is one way to control chaos, to contain the political outrages that color my world view from the minute I wake up until I go to sleep. I can't change the broader picture by myself, but I CAN control the canvas in front of me, and emerge with an interplay of shapes and colors that make me feel calm, and that viewers respond to. 

I bring my own thoughts or feelings  to the paintings, but viewers see things I never thought of, or intended- which is why I do this, now.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Crazy for color

Red has always been one of my favorite colors, and I've been going to town lately. One is under resin which really makes it pop, but the completely inked painting also makes a statement. Trying to push winter away,  I guess.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Adding resin-magic!

I’ve been having a great time experimenting with resin coatings for my ink and acrylic work. I started with birch boards as a base, which is recommended, but I’ve had success with both board and tightly stretched canvas.

What I love is the way it makes colors pop! It certainly adds to the production of a piece in terms of time and technique, but it’s worth it. I use ArtResin, which is odorless and easy to mix up, though you DO have to heed the directions and wear shoes and gloves (sigh). I use a heat gun rather than a gas torch to run over the surface to remove bubbles, and seems to work. I’ve also had bad experiences using blue painter’s  tape on the sides, to keep small droplets from forming and hardening. Instead I go over the drips with gloved hands to get rid of them, then sand off the dried remainder with a circular sander.

I still alternate between work with resin and paintings on raw canvas- tension between warmth that draws you in and a cool barrier through which to view the piece.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Departures and Arrivals

So great to be showing in the luxurious space of Tim Brooks' new expo68 gallery in the Eastern Hills Mall this month. Tim has a great eye for display and quality- all good wishes on this exciting new venture.
In the meantime, do stop by before September 7.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Videos from Art Trail

Two interviews by Allison Horvath and Deanna Wetmore

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Beginning to Soar

At least it feels that way. New shows every month, out of town and at the Mink Gallery in Ithaca. Hard to balance with teaching, but not impossible;. I've made so many new friends through the gallery and paintings, I love seeing my work in new homes. Below are some "in situ" shots from the last couple years.