Stars

During my early twenties, I delved into the love affair between China and the West. This love affair has been a reoccurring theme throughout my earlier hermetically private work. Through visual banter I set out to open a dialog, not political, but world defining. China has affected me on many levels, beginning with my grandmother a WWII refugee Shanghai Jew. If not for China, she may not have made it out of Nazi occupied Vienna. I am also interested in how China has the ability to provide fast inexpensive products we really don’t need, but want. This notion of more and now is creating a new flat culture across the globe. The desires of the world market are now mirroring what we have enjoyed in the West, but Earth cannot give everyone what the West has enjoyed since there are finite resources. This notion of “excess” ironically inspires me to create “more.” I set out to create a painting that has different qualities. When I started the sketching phase of this piece I had Francisco Goya’s black paintings in my mind, specifically “Witches in the Air.” The witches are men devouring their victim, while the next victim lies under a sheet hiding from the inevitable.  This inspired me to create my latest piece.

Throwing Star Dreams 72 x 5 x 95 in  (183 x 12.7 x 242 cm) House paint, throwing stars, wood paneling, metallic yarn, doost, and high temperature paint on canvas executed in 2013
Throwing Star Dreams
72 x 5 x 95 in
(183 x 12.7 x 242 cm)
House paint, throwing stars, wood paneling, metallic yarn, doost, and high temperature paint on canvas
executed in 2013

The fact that I use bright colors and the end result is usually something bright, maybe beautiful, does not mean I start or end at a happy place. The ‘throwing’ stars in this new painting are scattered with white circles. This piece is large, 84″ x 72″, and is painted on canvas that has been stretched to the wall. There are colored ‘throwing’ stars mounted in the wall, the stars are coated in Doost, a highly reflective glass dust made out of recycled glass tubes.

Each star has a red piece of yarn that hangs down to the floor where it is coiled up. I chose these materials because of the act of movement. The ‘throwing’ star is completely reserved for the type of movement I was looking for in this piece. Additionally, the reflective Doost coated stars pick up ambient light and appear to twinkle with the movement of the viewer. The stars are welded to 16-penny nails to keep them stable at different angles in the canvas since the angles would be impossible to achieve by throwing in a small space. This absurdity, if noticed, is my LOL moment, all angles as they say, even angles that don’t work, angles that fail.

Failure is how we move forward and this painting speaks to that failure. The process of making this painting was another exploration into reoccurring themes I have been working on. I enjoyed the problems I had during development of this piece. I had to scratch the whole piece twice, so it was expensive and time consuming to make. Figuring out how to mount the stars was quite a journey as it is hard to weld a nail to the tip of a ‘throwing’ star. I am currently working on a series of smaller pieces along the same lines, just different tones and smaller stars.  I am satisfied with the end piece and now have a better understanding of the materials used. I’m anticipating applying this knowledge to the next series.