Friday, September 16, 2011

9/11-An Artistic Response, the next step

After spending a few days looking at pastel squares hanging all around my Senior Studio, I noticed that I had a few empty bottles in a box in a corner. I decided to just paint those. It wouldn't take much effort or thinking and I would be painting again. As I did these paintings in a box, I realized that I was forming a landscape for them to sit in and that the bottles themselves had taken on a figurative look. It even struck me later that I was giving viewers a glimpse of a scene and that there was more in there than we were seeing. Each painting was taking me up to 3 hours to complete even though there wasn't really much to the image itself. Making decisions was almost impossible. Colors? Which bottles? Where to place them? Why did this need to be so difficult? In the end, just doing these paintings helped me get my energy to create things back again. There is a feeling of isolation there. I called the series "Beyond the Edge".

Monday, September 12, 2011

9/11-An Artistic Response, continued

A few days after 9/11, I returned to classes and my senior studio at Herron School of Art. I spent most of the day sitting around or walking around looking at what others were working on. I felt empty and unable to paint as it all seemed irrelevant. Finally, I got started and painted 20 squares of 20x20 inch papers--one each day for 20 days. I tacked them up all over the walls of my studio and called them the "Hotel Paintings". (???) I am not sure whether I had nothing to say or too much to say.

Friday, September 9, 2011

9/11-An artistic response

On the morning of September 11, 2001, I was just getting to my studio space in the senior painting room at Herron School of Art in Indianapolis, Indiana, when I received a phone call from my husband. He said he had just had a call from our daughter, Katie, who lived and worked in Manhattan. She said that a plane had just hit one of the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center and that she was ok. Katie's office was 14 blocks from the WTC. At that point, we had heard nothing about this incident. I called her immediately and her words to me were, "Mom, Mom, go home. Turn on the TV. Mom, this is big. Mom, people are running through the streets." There was a TV in someone's studio so we all gathered around and were unable to leave the spot. The teacher came by and told us to turn off the TV and get back to work. (I always wondered if she realized what she did that morning--but who could have known....) Students started leaving and I headed to the bookstore downstairs where there was another TV. By now, the second plane had hit. It was beginning to dawn on me that this was an attack on our wonderful city and our people and that my daughter was so close to this tragedy. (By this time, she had left her office and run all the way to her apartment in midtown from lower Manhattan.) A numbness had settled in and upon returning to my studio, I prepared to leave for home. I spotted a gessoed piece of paper tacked to the wall and in about 10 minutes I put down all my emotions of what I had witnessed on TV and on the phone with Katie and made the above painting. We were among the lucky parents who heard from their child before we heard the news ourselves and she was ok. I have thought so much about those parents and spouses who heard the news and couldn't get through, who had someone trapped in the building, or who never heard at all.