February 03, 2007
Early Turning Point...
A question was recently asked: What was the first painting that impressed you?" I had no trouble answering, I remember well a whole show of paintings that made my head swivel... in fact changed my entire perspective of what art might be about.
More involved with music than visual art as a youth, I'd never entered a gallery or museum until my 30's when J was transfered to the DC area. The art classes I'd taken to pass the time while he was on B-52 duty in SE Asia were very basic and introduced little beyond still lifes and the occasional portrait. When not taking the few classes available to me, I copied old masters from McCall's magazine (printed on 'suitable for framing' stock.) I was ready for it when the fever really took hold!
Once settled in, two kids in school and the baby with a sitter, I ventured from the Maryland suburbs into DC to check out the museums. I'd heard the Corcoran had a good art school and I had faint hopes of being able to enroll so I went there first (fat chance with carpools, diapers, etc.) The show I saw was by the color field painter, Gene Davis. Imagine a whole room of these huge, vivid paintings.
I was never the same. I couldn't enroll in the Corcoran, but I did find a small art school in Silver Spring and proceeded to be properly introduced to contemporary art. The Maryland School of Art and Design, (now a 'College' and no longer located in a converted grocery store facility) made up in energy and innovation what it lacked in curb appeal. Every teacher was young and enthusiastic. The students fell into one of three categories; young vets on the GI Bill and fresh from SE Asia (working hard!) super talented youth (hardly working,) and a mixed bag of young moms either looking to get out of the house for a few hours or desperate to catch the art train that might leave without her... that would be me.
The above painting was one of an evolving series of stripe painting, very much influenced by the Gene Davis show, but trying hard to 'do it my way'. I have few of them scanned but will try to organize the series for future reference.