Thursday, August 6, 2015

Quiet Spaces

I will be taking part in a two-person show in Laguna Beach in September. The owners of the gallery - Kelsey Michaels Fine Art - have given me the opportunity to show work which explores spaces, mostly interiors, which have resonated with me for different reasons. Some are energetic (loading docks and construction areas) and some are calm (empty corners of abandoned buildings). The common thread is that they are spaces which generally go unnoticed by their users.

Because I always paint from my own experience (with the help of sketches and photos) each space has a personal story for me and I'd like to share a few of those stories here:

Blue Door

Several years ago, while visiting artists' studios in the American Industrial Building in San Francisco, I got lost while looking for the exit and stumbled upon this loading dock. The light coming through the upper window created a cathedral-like atmosphere and the Orange traffic cone was a jewel sparkling amidst planes of concrete.

Between the Piers

I have walked the length of the Embarcadero in San Francisco many times but only noticed this scene when I was looking for the entrance to the Pilara photography collection in Pier 24.

Passing through a gate between Piers 24 and 26 I found the old rail tracks which used to bring goods into the warehouses from ships on the Bay.The gap between the buildings feels so narrow and intimate that I think this almost counts as an interior.

Sunday at 1890 Bryant St.

The building in which I have my art studio has been under construction for many years, and the works continue. On weekdays there are workers everywhere and it can get pretty noisy. But at weekends everything is still. Late last year I started to go to the building on Sundays and I would walk around looking at the half-finished projects. I've always loved the colors of old plywood and the Green backing on sheetrock so I was in heaven when I discovered an old sofa and a coffee table positioned in a place where I could sketch in undisturbed comfort. 

Old Market

Fes, Morocco, 2012.
Exploring the old Jewish quarter a friend and I found an enormous old produce market which was empty except for a few vegetable stalls. The space was stunning. Sunlight poured through circular lights in domes supported by high arches. It felt almost religious. I wouldn't have been surprised to find banks of votive candles but all I got was a motorbike and some carrots.

Old Barracks (unfinished)

I'm still working on this one in my studio but seeing as I'm in the story mode I thought I'd include it.

Mare Island CA. 2007. Abandoned naval barracks building.

I was in this building with an architect friend. We were the only ones there and the spaces were vast. This long, wide, covered veranda faced West and had been glazed for protection from the winds coming off the bay. What struck me was the echoing emptiness with the wind wailing in the background.