|1. The Love Rose
The scarf pictures an object I noticed in one of the many sex shops near my studio in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. It was by far the most delicate offering in the store: a petite glass tube containing a miniature cloth flower. You may read about its paradoxical function on the wikipedia page linked to on the scarf.
2. The Skogsrå
Scarf 2 pictures the Scandinavian landscape that is home to the Skogsrå, a mythological siren of sorts who appears in the trees and tempts the wanderer to pursue her deeper and deeper into the forest. When finally she turns her back she reveals herself to be an apparition, a hollow body that can only be a portal into further depths. This is also the moment when the one following her realizes there is no known path out of the forest. Anyone who knows the enchantment of the woods may recognize the legend as a sensible warning to turn back at a reasonable hour. I always related to it as a metaphor for problems in painting.
Scarf 3 is a map of the winter sky, featuring some constellations that will be visible in the Northern Hemisphere in the coming month.
On New Years Day I saw a cherry tree in bloom in a Brooklyn Cemetery and thought about how in the not so distant future the stars may be our only natural way of knowing the time of year.
Hesiod’s “Works and Days” from around 700 BC contains a farmers’ almanac advising when to plant crops according to what’s visible in the night sky. Alas....
The constellation Camelopardalis (The Giraffe) wasn’t introduced until 1612, and some maps don’t render it as a figure since it doesn’t contain any stars of great magnitude. But its brightest star, α Cam, is one of the most distant visible with the naked eye.
The scarf is inspired by a beautiful drawing of the giraffe constellation featured in a set of English constellation cards, Urania’s Mirror, published in 1825.
4. The Cat with Shopping Bag
This scarf is a true story. It happened late on a summer night at the end of August 2015. I was roaming the industrial waterfront of Sunset Park with a bottle of wine and a handsome young man I’d just met, when I noticed a black plastic bag approaching us from across the street. It wasn’t a breezy night, and the bag moved with a certain punctual cadence. I was considering the possibilities when suddenly it became apparent that a cat was bearing the bag in its mouth. My companion wasn’t as impressed as I was, and proved to lack the romantic capacity in general. I’ve always hoped to run into the cat again on a late night errand but it hasn’t happened yet.
What was in its bag???
The March scarf is a woodblock monotype, and it features a variation on the theme of a large tapestry I will exhibit at 321 Gallery in Brooklyn this month. The title of the show is LABOR OF LOVE, and it's on view April 9th - May 21st.
Prince Rogers Nelson
1958 - 2016
“As a performer, he was known for his flamboyant style and showmanship. He came to be regarded as a sex symbol for his androgynous, amorphous sexuality, play with signifiers of gender, and defiance of racial stereotypes.”
Scarf #6 remembers Prince with a selection of images culled from google and printed from pronto plates.
Wear it in appropriate spirits.
The May scarf is a silkscreen print of people in a lilac bush, inspired by an experience on LSD in the north of Sweden.
I first appreciated lilacs when I lived in that land. Their appearance in spring came at the end of a traumatic period of darkness and announced the return of the pleasure of fragrant flowers, etc etc. It is such a robust bush! But I felt there was no way I could enjoy lilacs enough in the time allotted, and for this reason they caused me anxiety at the same time as pleasure. I could only hope to live for more springs to enjoy them more. But a long and deadening winter would come first.
The last couple of summers I’ve been fortunate to be able to travel and thus extend the lilac season. I have enjoyed them in New York in May, in Sweden in July. Now on June 1st I find myself in Saguache, Colorado, at an elevation of 7,680 feet, and I’ve never seen more lilac bushes in one place.
8. Saguache Sun
The June scarf is a photogram made in the Colorado sun. I am in residence at an art space called The Range in Saguache.
Something that immediately struck me on excursions in this vast western locale was the diversity of types of barbed wire fencing dividing up the land. I snipped pieces from derelict fences and attempted to make sunprints, but the dimensionality of the wire proved problematic. This print instead features flat subjects including a raven’s feather, seltzer can tabs, some lacework and jewelry collected in local thriftstores, and some of the contents of my wallet including a puzzle piece and coins.
The July scarf is a stencil monotype of 5 colorful eels.
I saw something strange stick its head above water while swimming at Far Rockaway. A friend visiting from England suggested it was an eel and told us all about the beloved dish Eel Pie.
While researching Bauhaus pedagogy in anticipation of my new teaching job at Yale, an analogy vaguely attributed to either Klee or Kandinsky stood out to me:
“Although these teachers sought principles by which form could be understood, they pointed out that the rules they found were made to be broken; the principles they sought were, like a slippery swarm of multicolored eels, within their reach but could never be grasped entirely.”
10. Synchronized Divers
The August scarf is Olympic themed, depicting Wu Minxia & Shi Tingmao of China who won the gold medal for womens’ synchronized 3m springboard.
I hardly saw the competitions myself but Raque Ford recommended this performance in particular and I was very impressed.
The divers are printed from a linoleum block and the scarf includes some handpainted details including the hair and swimsuits.
11. Dream Billiards /
Back to School
I was in a new place meeting all kinds of new people, it was great.
At bedtime I amused myself by listing the praises of someone of particular interest, in my diary.
I slept and dreamed I was playing pool with this person!
A drawing of an antique embroidery, silkscreened with handpainting. A solitary case of an animal usually seen in a couple. In some parts of the embroidery work the stitched information reads as mending or suture.
13. Hamilton to Mike Pence
A silkscreened scarf trepidaciously forecasting the culture wars to come. An unfinished work, inviting absorption and accumulation the bodily fluids of protest, etc.
14. Dakota Access Pipeline
A fundraiser for water protectors holding it down in the winter weather at Oceti Sakowin camp. Silkscreen.
15. Burning Emoluments
A silkscreened scarf with hand applied color, depicting the Trump Hotel in Washington D.C. in flames.
The flames are lifted from "Blue Fudo" which Kenneth Clark deems one of the best portrayals of fire in art history, in his essay on Boticelli's illustrations of Dante's Divine Comedy.
Trump's conflicts of interest already feel dated on my list of grievances. I felt incredible anger as I marched past this building on January 21st. An administration with no regard for the US Constitution makes peace loving people have violent fantasies.
16. Sword Swallowers
A silkscreened scarf with hand applied color. The image is one I'm weaving into a tapestry for a show in April.
A silkscreened scarf featuring an image of a surfer lifted from a print on silk boxer shorts owned by Peter Brant and later Matthew Lutz Kinoy. Also occurring in multiple oil paintings in my exhibition ALL THE THINGS YOU ARE.
18. Sweet Breath
A pochoir stamped scarf inspired by a piece of ornamental metalwork at the Cloisters, described as "a mythological beast that tempts its prey with its sweet breath." It's kind of like rhetoric? The beast is seen ecstatically spewing something delusive and attractive.
19. All the Things You Are
A silkscreened souvenir scarf featuring thumbnails of 18 paintings in the exhibition ALL THE THINGS YOU ARE.