Saturday, March 30, 2013

Near Death, Resurrection, and Recent Birth


It is Easter tomorrow and there is something in the spirit of this holiday that I admire, if not the celebration of the figure to whom it is consecrated.  With it in mind I'm putting up these photographs that reflect memories and the concomitant emotions I've come to associate with this particular day.  Several years ago I went to visit my mother in Florida, right after she was released from the hospital, to keep her company during her convalescence.  This visit coincided with Easter and so I bought her an Easter Lily (a favorite flower for us both) and posed her in her yard with some of her antiques (a toy tea set, tea table, tin rabbit and papier-mâché Easter egg, all from the nineteenth century.)  I told her that there was no need to smile.  It was part of a series of portraits I was working on in which the models held eggs or egg shaped objects in one hand or with both.  While I was sorry for her pain, I'm not sorry that it comes through in these portraits. 

The fellow pictured above is an old friend, who is in fact nearly a year older than my mother (though he appears to be younger as these photographs of him were taken some ten years earlier than those of her.)  He is Irving Rosenthal, and he is posing in his vast garden.  One can almost hear the bees buzzing in the background (unless it is the sound of the wheels of his mind swiftly turning.)  I believe I owe him a book.  Come to think of it, I owe him several.  Never the less, in these portrait photographs he appears as one with his surroundings, a place in a neighborhood he has helped to shape.  I can not think of one without the other.
Below can be seen Romero, who grew up in Zacatecas, but has lived for the past thirty years or so in Aromas, California, on a succulent farm that once belonged to my friend Fumi.  These images were taken a year after Fumi's death, almost to the day.  A year, to the day, following his longtime employer's passing, Romero finally received the kidney, for which he had been waiting many years to be transplanted into his abdomen.  It seemed almost a gift from her ghost. 

Finally, here can be seen three more friends of Fumi, though the youngest never met her face to face as he was still in his mother's womb when the succulent farmer died.  Kota and Nanami were afraid at one point that they had waited too many years before they began having children, but as can be seen here, they did very well.  Nagi is a very healthy and intelligent child, and he is soon to be joined in a week or so by a sibling.  The flowers in Nanami's hands were purchased as a present for Fumi's sister, Midori, whom they were about to visit for the first time, as these photos were taken nearly a year ago, on the first anniversary of that death.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Capitalisms Collapse Again


This is another small selection from the paintings I will be showing next month at Max Fish alongside those of my compatriot, Max Schumann.  I'll be leaving for the East Coast in a few days and look forward to a productive five weeks away from home.  I hope that all of my friends who are able to do so without going to any ridiculous lengths will come see the show, especially as it is likely to be our last at this friendly place (which may explain in part the tone of celebration in approaching our collective doom that permeates my current work.)  As can be seen from these paintings on playing cards above and below, I haven't limited myself to the subject of oil spills, and not all is grim in my approach to what lies ahead.


Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Handsome Suicide

While I could never claim to be a great fan of Arpad Miklos as the ultimate (meaning both the last great and quintessential) queer porn star, I did admire his handsome face and the alternately wistful and wry expressions that were his wont.  He had very expressive eyes to go with his awesomely sculpted physique  (something he clearly took great pains and pleasure in the gymnasium to maintain.)  I applaud his refusing, in his suicide note, to leave behind one more inadequate excuse for killing himself.  He had every right to do so, as far as I'm concerned, and the mystery of his doing it is much more compelling than pretending that it was a matter of mental illness or steroid abuse.  As he grew older I began to enjoy his performances with the much younger models who came to play the role of surrogate son to this formidable dad.  I'm sorry that I won't get to someday see him plowing some well muscled youngster, forty years his junior, twenty years hence; but now I'm beginning to truly enjoy what he did do, so recently.  The truth is that I made this post for someone I admire, another artist, who wished he could have been this huge handsome hairy guy (and also for someone else, whom I love, who likely wishes that I looked more like the man pictured here with a paddle in his hand.)