Toy Pieces/Swan Dive Bomber. An earlier branch of my studio work is a group of works that I imaginatively called 'Toy Pieces'. How did I come up with a name that is so concise, yet eloquent and poetic? Hard to say.
They were a collection of toys, cultural detritus, and small sculptural elements that I merged into one, loosely narrative, composition. Here are two examples from that body of work:
This is Tree (of Life). It was the image I used for my invitation to the B.M.O.C. and Nitzles show at The Peanut Gallery in Rock Island back in 2003 (r.i.p. Peanut Gallery. You are still missed!).
Here is an excellent review from artist/art enthusiast Judith Malone describing her take on the show: http://www.rcreader.com/art/prayers-for-a-miracle/. I can't even begin to explain/describe here what the Peanut Gallery meant to this area. However, back in 2007, I wrote an article for the River Cities' Reader describing the state of the 'art scene' in the Quad Cities. For you insomniacs, here is a link to that: http://www.rcreader.com/art/no-boundaries-loss-of-alternative/ .
Another 'Toy Piece', in fact my first in the series, came shortly after the terrorist attacks of September 11th 2001. The title came to me almost directly from a sign of a local doughnut shop. It seemed to me that we, as a country, were struggling with shock and grief, and wanted to display our condolences and also some solidarity, yet were unsure how to do that. Many business put things like 'God Bless America' or 'We Will Never Forget' on their advertising signs. Some businesses couldn't totally divorce themselves from using their signs for business purposes, so there ended up being some strange hybrid signs expressing grief, outrage, and great bargains. Behold! God Still Rains Pumkin Donuts. (Originally 'God Still Reigns' on one line, and 'Pumkin Donuts' directly underneath).
God Still Rains Pumkin Donuts 2001. Also, a few detail shots so you can catch all of that hot toy-on-toy action!
Most of the 'Toy Pieces' received one last hurrah for the 2009 collaborative show 'The Dusty World and The Dewy New Moon', which was a collaboration between Terry Rathje, William Campbell, Elizabeth Sallak, and I. In a future post, I will include some more 'Toy Piece' images and shots from that show.
One of the pieces I am kicking around for the upcoming Merican-Tastic! is Swan Dive Bomber, which is at least three different canvases combined into a new piece. The oldest 'component canvas' was started back in 1999 while I was still living in Texas and using my 3rd floor deck as my studio. The base image/canvas is actually The Three Faces of Mr. Wonderful in Cha-Cha Mode (2000) which was one of the first pieces I started when I moved back to the Midwest.
Now with the addition of an old piece called Topia (1999) and a fragment of a different piece, Ant Farm (2000).
Sprinkle in the original Swan Dive Bomber....
I added a layer of painted imagery with the expectation that I would have to add at least on more layer on top of that. However, when I saw how well the colors are interacting with the previous layers on the piece, I decided I might finish this layer and let the piece sit for a while before I committed to more (or even thinking about adding more).
Swan Dive Bomber rounding third and going for home? or just on Second Base?