2010-11: giving old work a new life, plus…

by Alden Cole on December 4, 2018 · 0 comments

2010-11 saw the useful repurposing of earlier works on various substrates – paper, canvas, and plywood panel – into signage for events connected with both the Dumpster Divers and the DaVinci Art Alliance. The two pieces above – stylized night and day scenes – had been created as reduced-size preliminary comps to show a client ideas for a frieze that I eventually painted on two walls of one of their bedrooms. However, the final design was not based on either of the two pieces shown here; but that’s another story…

The plywood panels which measured 10″ x 48″ became the basis for signage created for the
Dumpster Divers when we occupied a gallery space on South Street in 2010. The night scene was morphed into a sign for Randy Dalton’s Blue Grotto, which was one of the highlights of the gallery. The day scene was transformed into a sign for general gallery use, stating what I considered to be the creative intent of such an eclectic gallery:
“Look Around! Be Amused! Get Inspired!”

In the spring of 2011, the DaVinci Art Alliance put up an exhibit of artworks inspired by William Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” in collaboration with the Lantern Theater’s production of the play. I got onto a roll with transforming what I considered inferior artworks from my Spin Art
period into signage for the occasion; works on paper that seemingly had no future. I figured “What the heck: recycle ’em or get rid of ’em.” The gallery space for the exhibit was in the rehearsal space in the basement of the theater, in what was sometimes referred to as the Black Box. As you can see from the attached files, I had an interesting time taking some very colorful artworks from the late 70s when I was painting with liquified oil paints, then adding type that was intended to serve as directional guides for the audience to visit the exhibit downstairs during intermission. I have
to admit that this was not terribly effective ultimately. possibly due to lack of clear legibility; possibly due to lack of audience interest. Whatever, I had a great time giving these old pieces a new lease on life, even if only a temporary one. At this point they’re probably bound for an event that friends Michelle Post and Dave Carrow call their annual Bonfire of the Travesties, which is where a lot of artwork that probably shouldn’t have seen the light of day has the opportunity to go up in flames and provide a little warmth at the same time.

For the exhibit of artworks
inspired by A Midsummer Night’s Dream, I was able to enter three paintings, one of which was considerably larger than the usual size limitations for DaVinci shows; the exhibition area was spacious and welcomed larger pieces. The first art submitted was the one at left; painted with colorful liquified oils on paper, measuring 26″ x 32″ – another left-over similar to the altered artworks above from the spin art period of the late 70s; a piece that I had a great fondness for which had gone through minor and major revisions with the years, morphing from totally abstract to being populated with numerous figures that were stenciled onto the background. I saw the piece as expressive of the restless motion conjured by the mischievous fairy Puck during the play: ““Up and down, up and down, I will lead them up and down, I am feared in field in town, Goblin, lead them up and down”

“Titiana, Queen of the Fairies” • oils on canvas 26″ x 65 • collection of J.T. Davis. Coincident with the show was a commission from a friend to do a painting of a woman reclining, as a tribute to his wife, based quite literally on a photograph of Betty Page, one of the most famous of the 1950s pin-up girls. Once painted – as a blonde instead of a brunette – I realized that it could double as a tribute to the beauties of Titiana, the consort of Oberon, King of the Fairies – those two contending lovers whose personal squabbles created much of the dynamic of Shakespeare’s play – so I entered it in the show as well, with a NFS indicated. Admittedly a flawed painting, but one which provided a great practical learning experience in the doing.

“Awake and Join the Dance” • oils on linen 16″ x 36″ * a painting first started in either 2008 or ’09 and finally brought to completion in early 2011, especially for this exhibit. Although the initial impulse for the painting was not specifically inspired by A Midsummer NIght’s Dream, the feelings evoked by the play have a very similar resonance to what I was trying to create with this painting.

“Doing the Warhola” • concept piece involving four trumeau-style artworks to be hung as pairs at 90 degrees to each other, placed in two adjacent corners of a room; combined with a floor piece inspired by Andy Wahhol’s dance-step diagram paintings. These were created at the end of 2011 for an early 2012 show honoring the 25th anniversary of Andy’s death, devoted to celebrating the impact of one of the most influential artists of the 20th century, a subject I could go on and on about, for better or worse…

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