CR Able & CR Baker

31 05 2017

Crossroads Able & Crossroads Baker are the first canvases I’ve produced since Atomic B.L.T. in 2015 and like the latter work Able and Baker stem from my fascination with America’s “Atomic Age.”  Operation Crossroads became the first Post-War series of nuclear weapons tests conducted by the U.S.  Two “shots” were tested at Bikini Atoll in July of 1946: Able, an air drop test, and Baker, a water submerged test.  Baker, the second test, remains the most visually compelling of the two nuclear detonations and is one of the most widely referenced images of an atomic explosion.

Baker test, Bikini Atoll, 25 July 1946

Able and Baker are homages, of sorts, to these visually-powerful yet aesthetically-complex displays.  The sparse yet warm color pallet, spanning linearly from one side of the canvas edge to the other, stylistically suggests the radiating condensation rings that form quickly after an atomic explosion.  Personally, they are the most visually alluring of all atomic imagery and some of the most distinctive examples were produced during the Operation Castle series of tests conducted in 1954.

Union test, Bikini Atoll, 26 April 1954

It is these rings that I am attempting to single out and give focus to rather than the stereotypical mushroom cloud that is arguably the quintessential visual signifier of an atomic detonation.

More to come, stay tuned…

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New work, new chances

29 05 2017

Earlier this week, I received an unexpected e-mail from the curator of the Center for Visual Artists in Greensboro about the gallery’s upcoming all-member juried show.  I immediately got to thinking what I’d submit-or really what I’d create to submit as only work less than two years old would be accepted and I hadn’t created anything any good in that time.  After giving the matter some super cereal thought I settled on a painting.  I decided to return to those hard-edge techniques I experimented with last in Atomic B.L.T. nearly two years ago.  I could only visualize Ken Noland’s horizontal stripes as a good jumping off point, pulled out the masking tape, and got down to it.

Production in the “Test Wing”

The concept for my Noland-esque painting actually incorporates two canvases, eight inches square and intended to hang side by side.  Over the past five days I produced Crossroads Able and Crossroads Baker.

CR Able & CR Baker

This “quadrilateral binary” painting (Atomic B.L.T. would then be considered a “triangle binary”) consists of an interplay of cadmium yellows and oranges against an otherwise “blank” canvas.  Four stripes of yellow and four of orange, of varying thickness, crossing a white expanse: it’s rather minimal but also intentional as is the warm color pallet.  What I wanted to achieve, aesthetically-speaking, was a compositional harmony through the placement and volume of color upon the canvas field.  Whether I accomplished this or not is not yet known.  However, I do believe I succeeded at what I wanted to achieve technically, which was that crisp, hard edge I was struggling for in the previous two B.L.T. paintings.

I have more to say about this new work but I need a break so, as always, please stay tuned…





Study for Farmer’s Bank

19 05 2017

Since beginning work at the museum last September I have devoted very little time and effort into my printmaking endeavors.  However, new ideas for future prints await and I continue to brainstorm, studying works by Antonio Frasconi, Hale Woodruff and Edward Wadsworth.  Below is a rough study I began but soon put aside: Study for Farmer’s Bank, a Gothic Revival styled building in downtown Elizabeth City.

Study for Farmer’s Bank





CREST: Windsor, NC

10 03 2017

I traveled to Windsor, NC during the past two days with MOA’s collections staff to participate in a conservation and clean-up initiative supervised by the Cultural Resources Emergency Support Team (CREST).  This organization provides special relief services to smaller, rural museums and their staff who are in need of emergency assistance, usually in the aftermath of natural disasters.  Windsor suffered heavy flooding last year when the Tar River swelled its banks submerging the small town under some four feet of water.

WCFM

Windsor Craftsman & Farmer’s Museum

The Windsor Craftsman & Farmer’s Museum, with its extensive collection of early twentieth century wood-working tools, was in urgent need of conservation following the flooding.  Work started last September, soon after Hurricane Matthew, to save as many artifacts as possible and salvage what could of the water-logged debris inside the museum.  Much of the WCFM‘s collection was submerged for two or three days, causing rust damage to many of the tools.   The masonite boards upon which these tools were displayed had started to deteriorate and had to be discarded, as well.

 

Display #1

Cooper’s tools & Saws

Fast-foward to the past two days and the CREST initiative, in conjunction with the town of Windsor, has fabricated new displays with fresh masonite panels and a simple but sturdy installation system.  Whereas the museum’s artifacts were previously fastened with pipe cleaners, they now hang securely on their masonite panels with plastic zip-ties.  Old and unsalvageable tools were discarded and properly conserved ones were put back on exhibit, the museum’s partially bricked floor was completely filled in, and gallery space was efficiently arranged for guided tours and hands-on activities.  Work is nearly complete and the Windsor Craftsman & Farmer’s Museum should soon re-open to visitors sometime in early spring 2017.

Display #2

Squares, Hammers, and Drills

 





From “The Gate City” to Elizabeth City

19 02 2017

About five months ago now I made a trip from Greensboro to Elizabeth City, from the Piedmont to the North Carolina coast.  My move “over here” was in very large part due to being offered a position in the collections department of the Museum of the Albemarle.  I tell you I am thoroughly pleased to finally be working in a museum, working alongside professional, like-minded individuals, working with historical artifacts, and just plain working.

Elizabeth City is a small, old southern city, laid out around the shores of the Pasquotank River.  I see that river about everyday, and it is a good sight.  I cross the river twice, first in the morning and then in the afternoon, on the days I work.  I pass by the old shipyard, too, where submarine chasers were built to fight U-boats during the Second World War.  I walk to work most days, down Riverside Avenue to the big, green-roofed building at the corner of Ehringhaus and Water Street, can’t miss it.  I enjoy the work I do at the museum, which I intend to discuss more at length in the near future.

Last September was the first trip I ever made out this way to the northeastern part of the state, and in these five months I have found my way of life here of a “mild pace”.  As I said, I walk to work most times and it is good to not have to drive all about.  I often stroll around downtown as well as the harbor to see what there is to see.  I venture out into the country, to smaller towns that are sometimes no more than just a post office and some outlying homes. There are very few tall buildings and the farm land stretches on and on.

Here were just a few brief impressions of my stay so far though I do hope to have more to say about the museum, Elizabeth City, and the Albemarle region in later posts.  Stay tuned…

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Elizabeth City waterfront





Update: Know Your High Point Churches!

2 01 2017

Know Your High Point Churches!, the exhibit I helped research and prepare at the High Point Museum last year, looks top notch and received a right good amount of both exposure and interest from visitors.  I am quite pleased with its reception and hope this panel exhibit will reach a greater audience as it goes on display at various public sites throughout the city of High Point.  My thanks go to Ms. Inabinett and Ms. Midgett of the High Point Museum for allowing me the opportunity to participate in this project.  I want to thank my friend Kadie Barnes for contributing her time to the project, as well.  Her photographs of the present-day sites were not only wonderfully shot but also a crucial component to this exhibit.

Know Your High Point Churches!

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Deep River Friends Meeting





Article

20 11 2016

An article I wrote for the Elizabeth City Daily Advance:

Elizabeth City led NC in crushing soybeans for commercial use