The early 80s: getting more abstract

by Alden Cole on March 16, 2016 · 0 comments

“Abstraction is one of the greatest visionary tools ever invented by human beings to imagine, decipher, and depict the world.” – Jerry Saltz (19 Feb 1951 – )

1.DividedBannerCRWPPicking up where I left off in my posting of March 3rd – The Power of Black & White. Leaving New York City: in the fall of 1980 I helped Samuel Weiser Inc., the publisher for whom I had been working in various capacities since 1974, move their publishing offices from NYC to Cape Neddick, Maine. After a number of jam-packed weeks traveling back and forth between NY and Maine as described in my earlier posting, the final move occurred in mid-October; and with it an era came to an end. My intimate New York living experiences were over; in the future I returned there only as a tourist, reminded by those infrequent visits that once this had been the “city of my dreams,” remarkable in my personal history primarily for great expectations not realized.

2.&7.CRWPOne of the projects that had kept me occupied during the previous summer of ’80 which was spent joyfully living once again in the country of Dayton, Maine, was working on a series of colorful banners which I had volunteered to create. The Alexander Robertson school
3.4.FirstPairCRWPwhere my friend Harold Stover taught music, a school which was associated with 2nd Presbyterian Church at Central Park West and 96th Street in Manhattan, where Stover was organist, had an annual Christmas pageant, for which I volunteered to paint celebratory banners. Selecting some flashy
5.6.SecondPairCRWPrecycled fabrics with either silver or gold surface coatings, I created color-bursts of abstraction using liquified oil paints, a technique I had first started working with in 1978, and with which I continued to experiment until sometime in 1982. The seven banners are seen above and at left in poorly executed photos which are my only record of the effort. I have some vague memory of being present at the pageant, but no photographs were taken at the time to record the event. The pieces were rolled up and put in storage after their brief moments of glory; several years later I retrieved them from a store-room at 2nd Presbyterian, and reclaimed them for further use. Once unrolled, I discovered that several had not fared well in storage; patches of paint had come loose from the slick surfaces, sticking to the back side while rolled up; repairs were going to be necessary if I wanted to keep them. Ultimately only one of the banners was damaged beyond repair and had to be discarded; the other six survived, receiving drastic revisions over the years, which left their initial use totally unrecognizable.

AbsolutelyAbstract1WPAt left and below, three Absolutely Abstract pieces that were discarded several years ago in a purge of my present premises, a well-meaning attempt to make more room in my limited storage area. Left visibly on the sidewalk one night on a ‘first come, first serve’ basis, all three pieces were gone
AbsolutelyAbstract2WPthe next morning, picked up by someone who obviously admired the work and claimed them as pieces to decorate their living spaces. Or perhaps they picked the pieces up, revised them and claimed them as their own. Glad to know they survived one way or another, at least for a while…




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