I am a studio- trained artist from Pennsylvania with a University of Iowa MA 1966, in Studio Art, a minor in Art History with concentrated work in early Italian art from staff art historian Wallace Tomasini. After Iowa, I had a chance to travel and visited Rutgers/ Douglass in New Brunswick, New Jersey and enrolled in the Art Department at Rutgers /Douglass for an MFA in drawing and sculpture awarded in 1971. And my studio habits are with me day and night from those more leisurely days as I madly scramble, chintz, and plot to find time to work in the studio and to continue the valuable studio relationship that has served me well over the years.
I am still excited by the studio discipline and the many resources of art history available in making works of art and I produce exquisitely-drawn figural compositions, abstract paintings and sculpture alluding to the Masque of Dante, of Caravaggio, of Michelangelo, of Rembrandt, and the machismo of Chamberlain, the welder who fashioned large sculptural blocks of brightly- painted automobile body parts; I'm fascinated by the dance of Durer's oeuvre as well as the melancholy of David Smith's archetypal placements; I love and am influenced by Giacometti's use of graphic compression in space as seen in his standing figures....and what else? the play of Sandy Calder, the whimsey and solidity of Connecticut Yankee Milton Avery's work....and I recall now at the keyboard, my isolated romance with Ibram Lassaw's work and David Hare's welded pieces. Should I stop there? I love it all! Eclecticism? No, just excitement about my influences and how much I appreciate the work of other artists I so love and admire.
At the University of Iowa, our time within the context of the program was a heyday of formalism and art historical study . All of us: we loved , admired, or were envious of, even disliked intensely some of our instructors given the task of breaking the news gently to us : that in order for most if not all of us to “arrive at... a condition of Being”.... “to gracelessly stumble upon failure” and almost miss the apparent rebirth so typical in making art, that all the attendant conditions of our coming of age have been delayed today on account of an Apocalyptic Rain . And the next day, back at it again ; finding the answer to the question why are we here? why am I here in this place?... and always the ghost- like epithets inhabited the department's hallways: echos of former students that, one must enter the studio and live in it and make it an extension of a feeling of the sublime, a tabula rasa, the existential, the absurd, the comic.
Some of us were in the studio every day. I know I was. What to leave on the canvas, on the paper... what to paint and what to draw? Lasansky, the print maker knew some days we would not know what terrain we had crossed ,- compasses, maps to no avail. And if you met Lasansky in the art building halls on “one of those days”...(he had taught for so many years and had so many students), he would lower his head and walk by discreetly as if not to disturb. I know I am grateful for his tact since I doubt, some days, I could have a made a good answer had a conversation ensued.
So what's happening today? I still dream of large sculptures, paintings, drawings yet unmade in the world and I regularly look through art books to see if someone has been listening to my dreams, prodding me to tell what I am making and exhorting me to speak out the functional secrets of unforgiving methods and materials.
“One day, “ Tarr says, “I will find a way and the time and in the manner of which I am accustomed and the works lying dormant along the evening bridge of the Sky will be found completed with the dawning of a new day right here in my back yard.”