Friday, December 6, 2013

a group show

pow wow
mixed media on cradled wood panel
18 x 24 inches


Once, when Yumi was a kid, maybe seven or eight years old, she told her mom that she wanted to run away; in fact, she wanted to run away with her best friend (at the time), a sweet little red-headed bed-wetter named Samantha. How far are you going? her mom asked. As far as the train tracks take us, Yumi said. Good idea, her mom said. It’s a straight line, and you can’t get lost. Just make sure you always walk beside the tracks, and not in the middle. Okay? Beside the tracks, on the gravel part, not on the wood part, not on the ties, okay? I’ll pack you a lunch. To which Yumi replied: Okay. She watched her mom make peanut butter sandwiches. The floor tiles felt cool on her bare morning feet. But Samantha likes the kind that are just peanut butter and butter, Yumi said. Okay, her mom said. Yumi got dressed and took her packed lunch and went to get Samantha around mid-morning. Good luck, Samantha’s mom said, waving goodbye. It was already hot – the kind of burning prairie sun right out of the movies (do they make movies about the prairies? Yumi couldn’t think of any), that flaring disk sitting whirring staring down at them, like something they were trying to get under, and somehow away from. All the blue of the sky consumed overwhelmed annihilated. Their little brown lunch bags seeping with butter. And hot with their masks on, their Pow Wow Power Masks from all those saved cereal box tops. We should take these masks off, Yumi said to Samantha. Which was also a way of getting Samantha to let go of her hand. And then they could get off the tracks. And these goddamn capes too, Yumi said. Noooooooo, said Samantha, and somehow, instantly, her hand felt wetter. You’re gonna wreck it, we have to keep our masks on, you promised, Samantha said, the bottom lip of her mask’s eye holes clustering with tears. BLLLEEEAAAAAAAA came the wail of the approaching train, like a car horn pressed by a thousand pounds. 

theda bera
mixed media on cradled wood panel
24 x 24 inches

theda bara

half alien
half cleopatra
silent movie superstar
silent cinema sex machine
the staring femme fatale
full on vamp mascara
and arab death anagram
puff-pouting in black clouds
serpent legs that dripped forever
(she was born in Ohio)

untitled (on Myrna Loy)
mixed media on cradled wood panel
24 x 30 inches

untitled (or on Myrna Loy)

I might as well know nothing about Myrna Loy, but perhaps it’s better this way; I can approach her face like a detective, trying to solve her criminal allure from the photographic evidence. Because she is not good, certainly. At the same time, she is not exactly an icon of badness. The noir glamour is there, in an almost obvious way – the eyes alone are searing, and she is not young and she is not old, which is exactly what a femme fatale should be, and shrouded in a kind of inky shadow that is at once frozen and smoldering. Is she camp? A little. At the same time you could still be forgiven for being afraid of her, while not being able to look away. 

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Three paintings that I'll have in Studio 22 over the month of December, as part of a group show. They're just across Market Square and up the stairs – a very warm, friendly place to see original art.