I'm having an altogether undeserved amount of fun preparing for the May First Friday (6th) opening at the Hilliard Gallery. Oh, there's been some angst. A couple of uglies hit the scrap pile for deconstruction; I cut them up and find uses for the pieces that didn't work. Sometimes they fit elsewhere, sometimes not. But the rest of the pieces are coming together in ways that delight me. Whether they'll affect the viewer, or a potential collector in a positive way remains to be seen.
Sculpture, in childhood, was easy. I found stuff and lashed it together, tied it, glued it, bolted it. The creations were made of old radio chassis, light bulbs, wooden shaving bowls, discarded auto parts, shoe boxes, cigarette tins. A certain design intuition crept in making the pieces harder to fit together but resulting in better assemblages. Better to me, and that's what counted.
I didn't know it but I was a kiddie abstract expressionist of The New York School. Like Al Gore invented the internet? I'm sure I invented Abstract Expressionism (The Kansas City School) Junior Division.
Others looked at them like they were emitting bell music, or like they were supposed to work. Which they did, to me. But I was a goofy kid. World of my own. I sent for Rosicrucian pamphlets because they were free. I decoded Little Orphan Annie messages. I kept a sharp eye out for communists because the summer McCarthy hearings told me to on black and white TV. But art and writing were my mainstays. I had a little printing press with rubber type, and put out a newspaper with outlandish lies about neighbors. Fiction? Precursor to mainstream media? Again on the cutting edge, this time, ungrounded journalism.
Later, after a couple years at a midwestern college, then a southern university, I ended up at art school. Nirvana! How can I explain it? Late 50's, early 60's with all that implies. Plus Jack Kerouac, Evergreen Review, Jackson Pollock, Franz Kline, Howl, what a time. Late nights listening to Joe Williams, Joan Baez, modern jazz, passionate arguments about classic art as an underpinning, our own revival of Dadaism. Home made beer in (some of) our paint cans in class, along with brushes. (Micro Brew? Hint of yeast, current of Cerulean Blue.)
And now, with the sculpture I'm doing, that time is back. I am reveling in bright primary colors and chrome accented with rust and old signs. It has that feel to it, the free expressive content and spontaneity of The New York School I so admired. Full circle. And such an unfettered joy to make.
So, that's it for now. Back at it. This is better than all the decoder rings and weird secrets of the universe tracts ever made! I hope you are having as much fun. G
This just in from Pitch: May 4 Metalsmith Guinotte Wise keeps cranking out the ab-ex sculptures — and has just completed his first novel. He’ll be on hand to sign copies of Ruined Days during the opening of SLAG at the Hilliard Gallery (1820 McGee).