Night & Day… a diptych

by Alden Cole on March 5, 2014 · 0 comments

aka Center City #4 & 6, pair of oil paintings on the wood-panel backs of two bureau drawers, 17″ x 7″ x 6″ • collection of the artist $

NightnDayWPOver the years I’ve collected many pieces of furniture, mirrors, lighting, assorted accessories and bric-a-brac of all kinds from the streets, including surfaces/substrates to paint on. When you live in the city, you don’t have to go to the local trash site to see what people have thrown away that’s still usable. All you have to do is take a walk in the ‘hood the night before trash day. When I first moved to Philadelphia in 1986, I lived on South 6th Street at Greenwich (pronounced ‘green-wich’ not ‘gren-ich’ as in Connecticut & the Village) in South Philly. Where I lived was a borderline (in more ways than I care to relate here); to the west of 6th street trash-day was Thursday, to the east it was Friday. I had the best of both worlds, so to speak from a car-less trash-pickers point of view. Among the numerous items I scored on the street during my first five years here was an antique mahogany bureau, a former 19th century beauty which had truly been used and abused before its last owners finally relegated it to the street where it was destined for the land fill. Since it was from the house next door, I could hardly miss it. Despite the lack of drawers (except for three small ones at the top) I decided I had a use for this bureau, and with the help of a friend wrestled it into the apartment building where I was living at the time, then down into the basement where I had access to a workroom, thanks to the kindness of my landlord John Hansen. When I moved a few blocks away to my present home in 1991, the bureau moved with me, down into a new basement, where it has been moved around, providing several functions since. In 2011, I choose to repurpose the three small drawers as shadow-box frames for paintings I planned to create on the wood panels that formed the drawer bottoms. Yesterday’s painting was the first effort along those lines; using a shallow drawer — one of two (the other was gone) that were positioned top-center in the bureau — with today’s pair on either side of it. I painted #4, the night scene, in late 2011; #6, the day scene, in the spring of 2012.

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