Moving On

Dad (2008) 16 x 5 x 4 inches; steel and wood trowel, photographic printRARELY DO I KNOW, upon first encountering it, what an object might become, and like most things I collected, this trowel appealed to me solely on the basis of its intrinsic qualities.

Once back in the studio, I realized the dappled pattern of rust on the steel blade matched almost exactly a pattern of spots on an ancient, hand-tinted photographic portrait given me by artist Susan Giller, and that’s what sparked the idea of combining them.

Even upon close examination, it appears the surface of the trowel is becoming one with the print, and at certain angles it’s hard to tell where the print leaves off and the trowel begins, giving the impression that the eyes have been painted onto the tool rather than collaged on.

As I take this step away from the art I made for a dozen years I realize I’m experiencing a bigger “send off” than ever before.

Not that I’ve ever had an issue when the galleries sold my work in the past; for me it’s always been about making things, and selling them has just been a means to an end, a means to making more things. But this is about moving on from a way of creating, not about relinquishing a particular object.

Either way, I can’t close the door on this work without acknowledging what it represents in my larger creative process. There’s something to learn here, I think, even as it applies to my writing.

(Above) Dad (2008) 16 x 5 x 4 inches; steel and wood trowel, photographic print