Tag Archives: art

Dead Horse Bay: The Glass Graveyard of Brooklyn

Dead Horse Bay: The Glass Graveyard of Brooklyn at Urban Glass, February 1 - April 1, 2017 with work by Mark SplatterSee some of my assemblage/preservation specimen work in this show curated by Allison Meier at Urban Glass, Brooklyn. The show focuses on Dead Horse Bay, a little known New York beach park on Jamaica Bay, where refuse of several decades can be found washing ashore. Among the detritus, horse bones, remnants of the bone rendering plants from the turn of the century give the place its name. The place has been an inspiration to some of my work; I find it’s glass bottles and bones, old toys and everyday objects in various states of tide and weather worn decay fascinating.

Pieces on view by Mark Splatter at Urban Glass, Brooklyn: Pwet specimen and assemblage from Dead Horse BayThe show opened February 1 and remains on view until April 1, 2017. I have three pieces on view, two of them are wet preserved specimens: Seahorse and Irwin, both of which utilize decorative Assemblage in the style of Frederik Ruysch, and another is a Natural History Sculpture using only elements from DHB.


Graphic Library #00017

800px-Jean-Leon_Gerome_Pollice_Verso-2Another favorite from Jean-Léon Gérôme. Pollice Verso is Latin for a gesture used during gladiatorial matches, given by the spectators when they wanted to indicate the victor should finish off his fallen opponent. The reverse signal would direct the gladiator to spare the victim instead. This painting shows the Emperor giving the gesture and the crowd follows his cue. The coliseum is reproduced from accurate drawings Gérôme studied from, and the armor based on findings at Pompeii, a popular archaeological find at the time, although it is not correctly assembled in this representation. Note the shafts of light that descend from the arena’s ceiling.

Artist: Jean-Léon Gérôme
Title: Pollice Verso
Date: 1872
Medium: Oil on Canvas
Location: Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix, Arizona, USA

Graphic Library #00015

 Antonio Gisbert Perez - The Execution by Firing Squad of Torrijos & his Companions on the Beach at Málaga, 1888, Museo Nacional del Prado Another amazing painting, this is a Spanish historical painting depicting the execution of the liberal field marshal José María Torrijos (1791-1831) by absolutist troops. “…commissioned in 1886 directly by the liberal government of Praxedes Mateo Sagasta (1825-1903) during the regency of Queen María Cristina of Austria (1806-1878), as an example of the defense of freedom for future generations.”

The scene draws you in first by it’s seaside setting, but quickly alerts one to the danger by its grey atmosphere. The presence of blindfolds rules out the impression of shipwreck or disaster at sea. The padre administering last rights, the soldiers in the background, and the bound hands among the crowd deliver the message before the title finally imforms one of the grave scenario, despite its uplifting message and the martyrdom of freedom. These sensations and the overall color palette make this one of my favorite paintings.

More Info: Museo Nacional Del Prado
Artist: Gisbert Pérez, Antonio
Title: The Execution by Firing Squad of Torrijos and his Companions on the Beach at Málaga
Date: 1888
Medium: Oil on Canvas
Location: Museo Del Prado, Madrid

Graphic Library #00011


One of my favorite Picasso works, The Accordianist is an early cubist work that was in a recent exhibition featuring Picasso’s ‘black & white’ work. To me it recalls the Piaf song and a surge of atmosphere representitive of it’s time and place. 

Title: The Accordianist
Media: Painting
Artist: Pablo Picasso 
Year: 1911
Painting Collection: Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York

Balconies of Elsinore

More trains of thought.. With an openended (hey, it was open so i crawled inside) stopover in Elsinore. As I think and read and write I come across these linkages. Writing a sort of ballade of my own, I conjured up Elsinore, to relate a certain element of madness. What comes to mind from Elsinore from other perspectives? I found a poem in Portuguese (http://www.poetryinternational.org/piw_cms/cms/cms_module/index.php?obj_id=4904) Mário Cesariny “You are welcome to Elsinore”. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fynpiRix0u0&feature=youtube_gdata_player)
My ballade listed off a register of neo scholar saints, the very same class of individuals I mentioned yesterday. The Picassos, the Piafs, Morrisons, Nicos, Rozzs, Gainsebourgs and Dalis. The icons like Pinocchio, Waldemar Daninsky, and Harlock. to allocate them to positions of the tarot. This recognition of some grand work underway makes this time of sparing and regeneration worthwhile. I’m coming to the end of a cycle and very relieved I did not try to rush into spring without going through this phase. Serendipitously, I’ve reached the final volume of the series I’d dug into in the winter, and amassed a sizable stack of books read on my shelf.
This morning in the news was an article marking the 20th anniversary of the Washington Square Massacre, in which dozens were injured when an Oldsmobile plowed through the pedestrian square in NYC. It mentioned an interest group AutoFree NYC, which gives even more ideas like the ones I’ve been thinking about, and ideas that are being talked about and set into motion. I look forward to investigating one if their monthly meetings.
I believe in automobile free urban zones. Cars are highly unnecessary especially for personal use. Two weeks ago as I was on a particularly long walk I started to think about reducing, and displacing, vehicle traffic in a city like new York by adding a layer above sidewalk level to the streets. The objective being to segregate vehicle and pedestrian traffic. Along with reintroducing tramlines to the New York transit system like most european cities (take Amsterdam or Berlin) this Wouk make the streets of new York safer, cleaner, less polluted and more efficient.
The obstacles? Who would the upper level be assigned to in consideration of safety, practicality without sacrificing the street level store front that is a staple of urban dwelling? Would it be possible to sink lanes rather than raise? I would opt for having vehicles travelling underground through tunnels (formerly street level) while giving pedestrians raised, airy, above ground plazas with greenery and open space free from traffic noise and congestion.
I would ideally take some 99 percent of vehicles off ALL streets, sheerly out of obsolescence. that’s another article altogether, though. But I envision the roads travelled by silent running compact clean green vehicles.
The article on the Washington square massacre used a great term that deemed worthy of word 9f the day , you-a culpa. Taken from a latin prayer expressing guilt, ala mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. The invented Youa culpa displaces the blame on someone else in grand style, canonized in the urban dictionary.

Pasolini vs. Schiele


Back in November I was looking for another figure to incorporate into the series of Heroes I’ve been printing. Already in the same series ive reproduced images of Denis Hopper, Alfred Hitchcock, and Jeffrey Lee Pierce. I eventually decided on Pier Paolo Pasolini for the next visage. It would have coincided with his death, November 2, 1975. The prints were unsuccessful themselves since I haven’t been able to achieve the same results with DIY materials since arriving to the USA.
One of the images I discovered in my Pasolini research was astounding. Not because of its graphic nature, but I could not tell if it was a painting or a photograph. After some further research I discovered it was Pasolini himself, post mortem. My initial impression was that it was an artistic sketch in color, in the same look and feel as Egon Schiele, one of my favorite Austrian painters. It may also have to do with that most of my image viewing is done on a display no larger than a playing card. But the posture of the figure, the color palette, and even the vantage point all bring Schiele to mind. To illustrate, some examples.

20120402-153457.jpg 20120402-153509.jpg


As I mentioned this image came to my collection back in November. It reappears today for two reasons. I have been reading Pasolini’s Roman Poems. In ‘Frammento alla morte’, he writes: “e la vita era reale solo se bella” [Life is real, so long as it is beautiful]. Without art, be it grotesque or more traditional imagery, existence would be unrelentingly dreary. Ironic that the aesthetic of the poets death could provoke such a reaction.
Regarding aesthetics brings me to the second point that made the photo relevant. I’ve been running a tumblr depicting some of the images from my picture library. I halted posting a few weeks ago to reserve posts to constrain to a particular color palette, as part of an assignment in color theory and design. Greys, maroon, steel, blue-gray, ochres, dark reds… All of which appear here.

The final image that came up in my looking on Egon Schiele I wasn’t able to confirm as his although the style was similar, and a very attractive painting it is. I’ll make a note when I can locate the source.

Kiss Your Trash

A few months ago I created a new Tumblr account just to post my favorite pictures from the other tumblrs I began discovering (all hail the *fuckyeah* tag!) when I got my first internet capable phone. I’m posting as much of my graphic/image library thats been accruing since 1999 up to it.


I have two other tumblrs, one for my own portfolio works, and the other dedicated to deathrock and deathrock.com.

Tarot: The Tower (XVI)


This has not been my most recent card drawing. Just my observations of the card in general, in relation of my project redesign of the deck using my own iconography.

One of the first cards that comes to mind out of personal experience that I can translate immediately into my own set of available iconography is the Tower XVI. It’s heavy in icons. Full of meanings, interactions and motion, represented by several different and separate figures and symbols.

First of all is the stationary, stoic Tower. It is made of stone, thick walled, and stands tall high above the horizon. It’s being struck suddenly and violently by a bolt of lightning from the sky, which topples the crown set at it’s peak and sets the structure aflame.
It’s denizens are thrown, or even leap, from it’s heights and plummet downwards. They too are surrounded by tongues of flame. Clouds and smoke fill the pitch black sky. Below we can see that the tower rests on a firm but narrow foundation. The ground on which it rests is nowhere in sight, so is the depth to which the hapless figures fall.
The Tower represents the sudden and dramatic, unignorable force of violent change. Not subtle change as Death XIII can represent. It also calls to attention structures being directly challenged: beliefs, ideals, ways of life or even goals. The things we build over time and take security in.
All this, and the chaos that comes with such a direct and savage affront to those structures, seemingly from nowhere, or from nature – the divine. Further, there are consequences implicated. There is a fury of movement in this scene. Billowing clouds. Flickering flames. Flashing lightining. A jostled crown and our victims falling to an uncertain fate.
Now lets rake a closer look. Notice what is not moving. The peak; the foundation of the tower. And the tower itself remains intact. Flames gut it’s insides. And it’s crown is displaced. But the structure itself is quite solid. This indicates that our beliefs though challenged and set ablaze, even toppled or destroyed, may have strength to them yet. Crude as they may be, set on uncertain ground and shrouded in not only uncertainty but utter, pitch darkness. No doubt they are susceptible to attack. Without the illumination of enlightenment, without a firm foundation, how can any belief withstand any crisis? Be it deliberate or divine?
This indicates a clear choice to question your morals and choices. Will you strengthen your resolve or abandon the ruins and build anew? As with Death XIII, this card offers the challenge and implications for change. This is no spring cleaning. Our entire domain has been purged by fire, the era, which is signified by the reigning crown, has been toppled, allowing for a fresh start and a new figurehead. The basic forms and foundations we’ve established are not strong enough. They need reinforcement, detail and definition. Also look at the tower – it’s an isolated, solitary construct, it is the abode of the Hermit IX. It lacks community, openness and exchange. Note the three solitary windows located only at the very top of the structure, burning from inside, no less!
At a point in life the ideals and goals you built up initially become challenged. You have to make a decision to hold on, adapt and renew with strengthened and clarified resolve, or start over from scratch – take shelter in some other established tower… Forgoing your own. In other words, will you take all the elements at your disposal – your Wands (Fire), Swords (Air), Cups (Water) and Pentacles (Earth), and apply them to expanding your solitary tower, building your own house, possibly even city, or will you move them into someone else’s? These elements make up the inner furnishings of your tower, easily mollified and destroyed in flame.
But consider the flame from the alchemical approach. Flame is the great transmuter, the basic tool required for metamorphosing and improving all substances. The scientific approach on the other hand dictates that matter and energy is never destroyed – it only changes form. Golden Cups (Emotions) and Coins (Material Wealth) melt easily under fire. Wands symbolize the Fire element and are it’s natural fuel. Swords (Morals and Values), while resilient, even they can be blunted and reduced to wreckage by flame.
That covers the Tower’s structure, it’s base, the Crown, and the Lightning.
Next let’s take a look at the heroes of our misadventure. Two plunging figures. Were they thrown from their lofty heights, or have they jumped from the carnage to risk it on the fall? On the left we have the cloaked and weathered traveler, a poor but worldly man dressed to withstand the elements. He falls face first, eyes open and alert. On the right falls a crowned man, a king or wealthy man. He falls head first as well, but prostrate and complacent. Of the two, who seems more prepared or likely to survive the fall? This hints at the virtue of being versatile and sturdy rather than smug and conceited.
Dancing around the two falling figures are further flames. But these flames are drawn in special figures that represent the Hebrew ‘yot’ or ‘i’. 22 in all – one for each Major Arcana, indicating that all the steps along the way of the Fool’s Joirney are acting against the figures. On the left are twelve flames, and on the right, ten. This is the Hanged Man XII tumbling through the Wheel Of Fortune X. His fate is uncertain, but by no means assured to be bad.