Tension Suspended

“Tension Suspended” is all about scale and tension. The form and color of the train creates a mass but being suspended by a chain and hovering in a circle creates a tension. The tension occurs because we subconsciously want the train to be on the ground, but we realize that we are prevented from doing this by the size of the box and the chains which imprison it.


Making Tiepolo: Synchromism

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, Queen Zenobia Addressing Her Soldiers, Italian, 1696 - 1770, 1725/1730, oil on canvas, Samuel H. Kress Collection





The Tiepolo piece is based on “Queen Zenobia Addressing Her Soldiers in the National Gallery of art in Washington, D.C. It is my current favorite painting and I spent many visits looking at it. The shape derives from visual lines within the painting. Synchromism is about how color can be used to define space in a painting. The most famous proponent of Synchromism was Thomas Hart Benton, and his influence can be seen in the work of Jackson Pollock.




Making Alice Large


I had originally intended to paint and attach the paper image to the smaller figure but when I was cutting back the paint, I found that I preferred the distressed figure. The idea of the cutout at the back of the box occurred when I saw the shadow of the original figure. This make both the figure and the cutout ghostly like a memory.


The image above shows the point when I was reconciling the placement of items in the box. I already decided on the color of the “sky” and the grass below it. I knew that I wanted cards on the floor.

The small flower was to be at the top of the grass (as roses). I abandoned this idea as I felt it was going to make the image just too pretty.


At this point, all of the items are resolved. Notice that one card is already flipped. Although this image is after the one before it, it makes logical sense in describing the process. You will notice that the cat was changed to a more realistic one.


The last thing added was the cat smile. This is a painted fingernail. It was the only thing that was flexible enough and yet firm enough to hold the shape.


I would not want to live in a world without cathedrals: Night Train to Lisbon



“I would not like to live in a world without cathedrals. I need their beauty and grandeur. I need their imperious silence. I need it against the witless bellowing of the barracks yard and the witty chatter of the yes-men. I want to hear the rustling of the organ, this deluge of ethereal notes. I need it against the shrill farce of marches.”


Completed 27 November, 2016: Thanksgiving.



Making Alice Small


The above image shows how I decided the length of the inclined plane for the piece. This was decided before placing it in the cigar box.


The image above shows the plane and cigar box inside the larger wine box. At this point, I had decided to use the glass (purely by the accident of placing it in the box to simply support the cigar box). The cigar box does not touch the wine box but is suspended slightly above it to create a tension, being not obvious. The same applies to how the incline extends beyond the edge of the cigar box.

Yellow Terror


It is called “Yellow Terror” because it was a nightmare to make, both in terms of its physical nature (aluminum) and the image (which changed several times). I still cannot tell if “Yellow Terror” works, because I am still too attached to it. But it is a good try. I leave the final decision up to the viewer.