December 28, 2010. The snow once made a perfect dome over this car. You can see how it slopes in the dark and hung over the edge, until the outer edge was cleaved from the whole. Before that though, look at the skirt flowing from beneath the overhang. What miracle of water and cold and wind does this?
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Monday, December 27, 2010
December 27, 2010. Not my picture, but wish it was. It isn't often (if ever) that snow goes underground and covers the subway platform. The cleanness of the snow covers the grime on the rails and floor, the bench, floating down through grates, muffling the steps of feet walking through the station. But the rigid columns, from track to ceiling, push back against the softness of the snow. It is a push and pull through the station as they echo each other the length of the line.
Sunday, December 26, 2010
December 26, 2010. This little patch of moss off the trail looked like a soft place to lay my weary head. The moss was covering a rock, but still a restful place, the green a moist emerald, already giving succor to stones, twigs and leaves. My head would simply be placed in the open space, joining the rest of nature that found peace here. The weather has been cold, bitingly so, but the moss holds its green, it beckons and promises a gentle repose to those who take its bait.
Friday, December 24, 2010
December 25, 2010. Ducks on a pond in a random pattern, paddling, circling, waiting or not. In the shivering of the morning on a cold December day, the sunrise reflecting on the water, these ducks don't huddle for warmth, but they stay in a flock anyway. From far away, do they make a pattern? If I connect the dots, what will the image become?
December 24, 2010. The long leaves of a lily field, battered down by wind and rain, and maybe hands and feet, cascades down the foot of Cleopatra's Needle. It is on my routine walk in the park, green and tall in the spring and summer, then yellow and wilting in the fall. And now this, like a fall of water down a stony drop in a river, mimicking that universal force of nature - water. Do we all want to go back to water? People, plants, animals?
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
December 22, 2010. Central Park is filled with surprising scenes. Winter's embrace on the formerly lush landscape, lets you see things you could not during another season. A turn of the head, walking east or west, sunny or cloudy, the views change all the time. This little gazebo, sheltered by a tree that refuses to relinquish is summer beauty only reveals this serenity when you look at it from between the bushes that obscure the view in the summertime.
Monday, December 20, 2010
December 19, 2010. Columbus Circle. A woman rides through the square, maybe after having just been in Central Park. She and her horse are dressed for New York. The bronze is open, giving us a view inside, but not too much, just enough to know that there is an inside. Where are they going? Home? Where is it? Or is it just the ride?
December 18, 2010. Giant cubes of frozen water, outsized in an outsized City. The day was frigid, but the cubes were nestled safely in their bed of leaves, dropped from the elms surrounding the Library. I was on my way to Bryant Park. The colors of the leaves and pine branches are muted by the ice, the lines blurred and flowing into each other. It looks so quiet under there. It looks soft.
Sunday, December 12, 2010
December 12, 2010. Any surface is a canvas. Some surfaces, and some expressions just invite participation. Who was the author trying to reach? And did the lover appreciate the public nature of the speech, not to mention the public nature of the response. But does baby know how you feel, or do we just hope so? Are we relying on intuition, gut, body language as somehow more meaningful than words, which our kind spent eons developing, in an effort to add clarity to our interactions? "But baby." I can hear it now.
December 11, 2010. Is it a comment on the lock, someones heart, or a relationship? In New York, it can become confusing because every surface is a potential for communication. This message may be intended for a locksmith, who was called while the owner was out of town and who had to return to the shop for parts. It could have been intended for the lover, who has been shut out, and the message meant to alert him not to come up. It could have been a reply to betrayal, a response to the breaking of trust, leaving the loved one in a state of despair, unable any longer to even make the attempt to reconcile. I wonder if the message was understood.
Sunday, December 5, 2010
December 5, 2010. Our affinity to the sea is primal, lasting, pulling, wild and deep. If life crawled first from there, or from some other primordial sludge what does it matter? We cannot live without it in any event. Whether salty, brackish, cool and clear, cold or warm, it calls to us and we each answer it in our way.
December 4, 2010. What was this? It looked like dozens of snails in their nautilus shells clustered around a rock in a mating ritual. The colors are all soft greens to creamy beige. It looks so otherworldly, that I am not sure you should eat it. Maybe it should just sit on a table and be displayed.
December 3, 2010. These bricks made me think of mud and hands. There was so much texture and irregularity to their size that I could imagine some group of people making them by hand, continuing to pass on a tradition that started with dung and dirt and water. The colors changed, smokey, dusky colors, as if seen through the haze of kilns and dust and ash. Hands have passed on this tradition - words couldn't do it - you had to feel the texture. What a wonderfully manual task.
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
November 28, 2010. A bike rack, a stanchion, a shape I remember from the farm, at milking time. Stanchion balanced on stanchion, each throwing their own shadow, mingled with shadows from the rest of the street fixtures, the cars and the people.
November 27, 2010. They walk among men, giants by any standard, but they leave few markers, except maybe once in a while a footprint, just to remind us. This is the print of a powerful being, with feet and hands that have wrought great things. There is no proportion, they are just large, significant, important. The feet lead forward to achievement, the hands to fashion deeds of great majesty - leave the details to those creatures with finer features.
Friday, November 26, 2010
November 24, 2010. Holiday travel, before the rush, when everything is bathed in a golden glow and the day holds the promise of family, food and preparation. I love the cavern of Grand Central with its messy pedestrian pathways - no matter where you stand, someone is bound to bump into you, as if the magnetic connection between us is too strong to overcome. Then above us is that serene space, the heavens, unmoved and blue, and the between spaces glowing golden from those brilliant chandeliers. All in this one space - people on the move, people waiting, people anticipating - and the walls absorb all of those hopes and anxiety. But for me, there is this golden glow, always.
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
November 21, 2010. Like someone waiting for the second coming, this snowman is waiting for the first snowfall. Perched in this branch, he mixes the seasons, spring and fall, and hopes for winter. His face is upturned, daring the sun to do its best to prevent the coming change. Change is inevitable, and cyclical, and the snowman is comforted by this knowledge. Patient.
Friday, November 19, 2010
November 17, 2010. Crossing the temporary bridge that has been there for a long time you can walk right past these stunning reliefs on the AT&T building in lower Manhattan. Prior the bridge being there, you had to crane your neck upward to see them. Now, at least for another few years, you can see them at eye level, in all their intricate glory. Stop, look, enjoy.
Sunday, November 14, 2010
November 14, 2001. My life repeats itself. I'm not sure if it is in threes or repeats of threes, but I'm all sixes and sevens. In the little things of life, all of us repeat ourselves, even those that live the most carefree life. We develop habits, we develop themes, and we develop patterns. I find none of those things disturbing. And then there can be repeating things that appear random, but maybe our eyes and our intellects create repeating themes and patterns because we find them safe or familiar or pleasant. Why were these hats placed so closely together? Was it a deliberate act, or a random act that reflected the camaraderie of the workers? I kind of like that idea.
Monday, November 8, 2010
November 6, 2010. Van Brunt Street in Red Hook seems to be a haven of sorts for the image of the floating Mary, this one on the back window of a Kia. The driver takes her along wherever he goes. On a road trip she greets you as you pass, sending blessings for a safe journey, maybe a pleasant one. She floats in her bubble, the reflected clouds drifting by, and the elements kept at bay by her aura. I wonder if this is the same man who keeps the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe over his bed.
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
November 1, 2010. Tucked into a nook of a building was this styrofoam creation. The owner may have been standing nearby, casually smoking, but he wasn't letting on that it was his. Is it an act of resistance or defiance? Or is it posing the question of who really pays attention to what is plainly visible? Do we only see what we want to see? I want to see what is inside, to see what lead you to create this, and what you want it to do.
Sunday, October 31, 2010
October 31, 2010. Red lacquer in the sunlight, the smooth, shiny surface marred and scratched to add the patina of history. This door promises an opening to the past, access to an age gone by. The crimson red could be the dawn of morning or the blood of battle. It is a the color of royalty, a Vreeland red, a red that makes you want to sit up and watch it.
Saturday, October 30, 2010
October 27, 2010. The blue Gates of Heaven have been replaced with billowing clouds of fabric. Clouds with their promise of what they cover and obscure, with the certainty that they will move on and reveal. They are temporary, transitory, but always returning to once again obscure and to cause us once again to anticipate that which we cannot see, but which we know through habit, or faith or repetition. These are not, however, the clouds of Michelangelo, no such invention here.
Sunday, October 24, 2010
October 24, 2010. A beautiful day in Brooklyn. On my walk to BWAC, I saw this reflection in the water by the pier. The reflection is so much more interesting. The water has altered the texture and the color of the image on land. The posts of the railing have taken on a beautiful blue shimmer and the colors have intensified, while the lines have softened. The reflection is the winner.
Saturday, October 23, 2010
October 23, 2010. Midtown, on my way to swimming. What is this one hiding from, what crime did he commit, or does he plant to? It's all so clean, until you get to the chest, and then he drips off the plane. There is something Maxwell Smart about him, and then more sinister.
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
October 19, 2010. Downtown on Murray Street hangs a solitary cow on a granite pillar. Is it the random act of a child idly applying a glued image, or the deliberate act of some downtown denizen in a fit of existential pique? The image is so small as to be easily missed, so there has to be an effort made to see it. The reward is in the finding and seeing.
Monday, October 18, 2010
October 18, 2010. A square of wall paper is cut away and a mountain is revealed against a snowy white sky, towering over an ice covered lake below. I like the diagonal of the mat. It lets the mountain disappear from the scene, continuing out of the frame, and I want to follow the line. The diagonal doesn't arrest my sight the same as a straight line might.
October 16, 2010. My first day volunteering at BWAC. As I left, walking down the pier, I saw an image of the Virgin being borne aloft by an angel. It was cut in an oval and glued to a black painted door. I stopped, and after snapping an image, the owner came to see what I was doing. He had a better image inside, he said, and not thinking I went in. There, on the wall over his unmade bed with this image of the Virgin of Guadalupe, the Virgin of all the Americas, he said. The background, her wall, like a Zen sand garden raked smooth but for the pattern created by the rake. He was so proud of this, his symbol of devotion, perhaps a source of protection, or maybe one of comfort.
October 15, 2010. A surface that has been glued over, painted, graffitied, papered and stickered, has become a work of assembly that arrests the eye and wants you to stop and look. What happens when we just pass by, not taking the time to let the layers, colors and patterns soak into us? Maybe nothing. Maybe something. Our experience of today is either changed or not.
October 14, 2010. Water changes everything. We get a downpour and the subway station platforms take on water, seeping through the cracks back into the earth through some endless fissures. Things get trapped in the water and changed, broken down, or given roots. Ink runs and smears, but this wrapper shimmers in the unforgiving overhead light. Maybe it will end up in some rat's nest as a possession. Or more likely it will be swept away by a broom or more water.
October 13, 2010. Warren Street, walking toward City Hall. This bit of architectural detail is about to be forever removed. Peeling paint, floral curl of vine and berry, ages of silent sentry. A new building will be ushered in, which was initiated by the Fu Dog ritual this week. We are between layers just now.
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
October 11, 2010. I was trying to remember the name of the fashion designer, Patrick Kelly, and it just wouldn't come to me. It crossed my mind as I was leaving Philadelphia, where I had once bought a red button doll done as an homage to him. And then I saw this - buttons. Repeating patterns of buttons, when I had always only focused on the numbers and a way to get home, as opposed to walking the stairs. These buttons, alternately polished by our porters, or the hands of people pressing them, and then tarnished by the air and the oil from those hands.
Monday, October 11, 2010
October 9, 2010. A road trip to the Barnes Foundation museum in Marion, PA., yielded this find. Out in the garden was a small stand of Tea trees. The bark mottles like the older London Plane trees in Central Park I pass when on my walks. But here they were in shades of red, and shades of brown. If this is camouflage, who or what are they hiding from? How it peels, which layer is first or last is barely perceptible. What a beautiful precursor to the art inside the Barnes.
Monday, October 4, 2010
October 3, 2010. Remember the knit sentries from DUMBO? I think the same mad knitters found this bike. Alone maybe, abandoned, they swathed it in color and warmth and then left it somewhere to await its fate. And such was its fate. This is another one of those times when I wish I had a car, and a house with rooms. I would have given this a home. I regret leaving this behind.
October 2, 2010. Storm King Art Center. 500 acres of art, plus walking, plus sunshine, plus friends. There isn't anything wrong with that picture. I think we are probably always compelled to make art. Here, after passing by the Storm King Wall by Goldsworthy, one or more people felt the drive to mark their having come this way by creating this ancient marker. Or maybe they created this contextual piece of art because the spirit moved them to do so while amongst so many wonderful works. Every time we create a still life at the dinner table, or consider how our clothes look, or arrange a vase of flowers, we are fulfilling a drive to create.
Saturday, October 2, 2010
September 26, 2010. Walking over the Bridge is a community event. Fast walkers, slow walkers, strollers, bikes, runners, gawkers, missionaries, protesters; everyone is there. It's easy to engage, encourage, and bypass humanity here because you are as closely packed as a subway at rush hour. From a distance you don't see the many cables and wires that make this bridge stay up. Up close, you appreciate their contribution.
September 24, 2010. In my dreams I float sometimes. I just lift off the ground, the bed, the pavement. Often I perform superhero feats, less so, I just look at the world below. Do cattle do the same when they slumber - do they free themselves from their earthly toil and measured existence? To dream and lift and float over the fences that constrain - what liberation!
September 16, 2010. There's something for everyone in this world, and street fairs in New York know it. Shape, texture, color; all collide here, glinting at the eye in the sun, or subdued when it is overcast. People, stones, booths, visuals, each bumped up against the next. Contact is impossible.
September 18, 2010. How long do you think this art form has been around - mosaic in one form or another? Here, the work predates and echoes the work on the street above, in the East Village, where street artists have taken over street lamp bases, door lintels, and sidewalks. The portrait of the birds, nearly noble, not seen as the pesky scavengers that dive bomb strollers on the sidewalk.
Friday, September 10, 2010
September 7, 2010. I promise I will only wear one shoe, and it will be on my left foot, and it will show my solidarity with you in whatever hijinks we happen to be up to, probably fueled by some substance. Lost and abandoned under the front fender of a car, a testament maybe to the immediacy of their owners' feelings and being in the moment. Their absence might form a bond that lasts forever, or just a night.
Monday, September 6, 2010
August 25, 2010. A row of eyes looking through veiled hoods, outlined in black and white, backed with orange shadow. They stand in a long row, watching the alley, poised. Why are they transparent? The long tongue projecting from between the eyes like that of a butterfly.
August 24, 2010. It's been a tough few weeks, but I came up out of the subway and there she was, staring at me. While it might matter to many who she is, to me it doesn't, since she might be asleep, and if she isn't, you might wish she was. She looks from behind those glasses, thinking that you should know her, validate her, acknowledge that she is here at all. What will it take to bring her from behind the glasses, into the world of light?
Sunday, July 25, 2010
July 11, 2010. Aaahhh, heavenly rest. One blue sky, clouds drifting by, grass green under my feet, an expanse of land. Who will rest in this patch, in a tiny town between the church and the trees. The lawn rolls, like the hills around this spot near the Mississippi. It holds the remains of ancestors and neighbors, arranged in rows, neat, tidy, harmonious. But each plot retains an individuality - the spirit in the body laid here. I am happy to be able to visit here, to walk among these stones, to remember what I do not know and imagine what I can.
July 8, 2010. My niece's new ride. It's tough, I thought, but she wasn't buying it. The huge silver stripe separates the top and bottom of the truck for no apparent reason. Maybe the designer thought it imparted a sense of speed. I see it only as an unnecessary interruption of color. Rust has eaten away at many parts, a sure sign of it's utility and the effort in support of it's owner.
July 7, 2010. A stairway into the air, crossing up into the blue. What height lies up there, what garden, what view of the beyond? The stairs beckon us, assuring us of safety - providing us a railing. We can see life at the top, an outline of something growing, a pot of plants, maybe a sprig of color, but in any event the beautiful blue of a sunlit sky. Go ahead, walk, climb, let it be revealed.
July 6, 2010. JC Penny in St. Paul had these beautiful little marble panels. Multi-colored, with no discernible pattern, just the beauty of the glass marble and the light behind. I ran into the store after having viewed a friends work in the lobby of a local theater. A chance discovery. The deep blues shine through like beacons, the reds are a thought - a cherry waiting.
July 3, 2010. My niece's wedding and the tabernacle in the church. What lovely work this was, burnished bronze highlighted on the raised surface, darkened in the crevices, burnished on the ridges where people may have rubbed it for in prayerful request. The burgundy red center bled out toward the reaches of the cross, the surface smooth and raised away from the peaks and valleys below it. In another setting I might have touched it, felt the rough surface, moved my hand over the smoothness of the blood red cross. Maybe I would have made my own supplication.
June 27, 2010. Gay Pride in Minneapolis. Every now and then I am tempted to ask to photograph the work on a body. Mostly I do not, it is too fresh, bright, new, untested and without depth. I saw only the tail feathers, and then asked to see the rest. This bird was muscular, arched, ready. The colors were still vibrant, the beak nasty and pointed, angry. I am not sure my arm would be so willing a canvas.