The geometrical apparatus holds the sleepers who warp its architecture with an uplift so tremendous that it breaks into a distant shoreline. And this occurs in only a brief moment of the half-sleep allowed. The microquake of a nap ceases as soon as it begins by the pitter-patter of birds (varies from sleeper to sleeper – plovers, seagulls, sandpipers, egrets, herons, and so on) across their sandy brows. One sleeper reports a cassowary darting over her dune-laden forehead before she can fear for her life! When the sleepers abruptly awake from their slumber, it is imperative that they ignore their tectonic activity simulations or else the tasks at hand might wash away the added benefits of transitional states contributing to enhanced productivity desires.
Dedicated to everyone who has passed away from COVID-19. Rest in Peace.
New York is a lotus flower with giant petals. If the petals were put on the floor, their terrain is so immense that each one would cover a small town. Between the petals, pathways weave in and out of this labyrinth. Go in one direction and the petals unfold before you as they fold back behind you. Turn around and the folded unfold again. The journey on one side of the lotus becomes a journey on the other.
New York is a lotus flower with infinite pathways. Step on the path and look at the petals loom overhead. From any standpoint, the petals blend into transitory formations that embody the supreme randomness out of which came its design. See how the petals twist and turn together into a vertiginous dance. If you whirl clockwise to find your way, the whole flower turns counter-clockwise. Take a rest and the place where you stood has already shifted away from where you thought you were but a minute ago.
New York is a lotus flower of bright light. Every petal has a thousand pores radiating. Every being that lives there bathes in its glory at one time or another. Its hive energy buzzes anyone who steps on its pathways and delivers them toward the light they seek. It is a flower of knowledge and know-how. It’s a beacon to the world. It’s a place of heartbreaking beauty and all the dimensions of tragedy, too. And whenever it seems to die it is reborn. And it gains even more petals which in turn create a seemingly infinite array of new pathways to explore.
The Process: About a year and a half ago I found out that I had an opportunity to studio-sit in Manhattan (otherwise there’s no way I could afford it!) for two weeks. I treated it as an artist’s residency but on my own dime. To prepare, I poured over as many photographs of New York City from great photographers like Edward Steichen, Helen Levitt, Joel Meyerowitz, Paul Strand, Berenice Abbott, and countless more to study how NY was depicted/experienced by others. Yearning to contribute some way of looking that I hadn’t come across yet embracing all that I have seen. I spent hours thinking of my previous experiences there and how the city felt to me as well. The dominant theme was that of a labyrinth but I was unsure of how to convey that feeling. By the time I arrived in NYC, I had my notebook of ideas on what to try, but after many days, I felt like it wasn’t working. When I could sleep, though, I entered half-dream states where I was ceaselessly wandering through the outer terrain internalized. And then, it came to me. The simplest of ideas. I tapped into this feeling of the buildings unfolding before me like a thousand petals of immense scale. Yet also scattered in my mind’s eye these petals came from all over town. Then, this boiled down photographically to two images juxtaposed together in a diptych. Two images of these buildings from different areas had to be brought next to each other! And once I got to develop them, some blended together, some grated against their companion, and others twisted and turned into uncanny forms from simply placing them side by side in an embrace of the fundamental experience of randomness. After a year of developing them, this is what you see now.
Where to purchase: They are for sale at www.society6.com/oneroundcorner. There are prints and framed prints available (the largest size will be the best), in addition to some having small items available like pillows, clocks, iPhone cases, and such.
Favorite? Of course, I’m proud of all of them but if I had to pick a personal favorite, it’s New York is a Lotus Flower #4 because it references zip paintings by the New Yorker Barnett Newman and I always think of them when I go to New York since I saw them in person for the first time at the MOMA many years ago. If you have a favorite, I’d love to hear about it! Thank you and enjoy!
I had to go to the mainland for an errand and was returning to the main ship on the ferries. We dock and rather than jockeying for position I look at the view until I end up at the back of the line without a care about it. There is something I loathe about being in a hurry in a crowd. Sooner or later, everyone gets off so why bother feeling an ounce of stress over it? But as I walk up the ramp, the hydraulics start operating and it begins to elevate the ramp closer to the ceiling. I have to crawl to try and make it before it closes. And then I start rolling toward the narrow opening but get stuck. It holds me there with my face pressed between the ramp and the ceiling. The others board on the other side and we return to the mainland while I watch the main ship take off and recede toward the horizon. And I see my squished face from a bird’s eye view trailing the boat and I look so ridiculous. Like some foolish clown or comedian stuck in a pinch. I wonder if I should’ve cared about being first off the ferry in the first place. Because now I’m paying an absurdly heavy price for being so nonchalant. But at least the ramp didn’t crush my head so I’m lucky in some respect. Finally we dock and the ramp releases me. Abandoned, I wander through the streets wondering what to do and where to go until I hear people screaming around the corner. Something is happening and it sounds terrible. A major flood of water rushes and swings from around the corner. Waves smash into the streets. I’m running as fast as I can. Many people are running up some stairs. I follow them to a third story balcony of some corporate building and we watch the city float by as if we were back on the main ship.
Here are some images I put together based on this dream of monoliths floating down the old archetypal river.
Once I got lost in a labyrinth of mirrors whose scale was magnified by the coldest of ambitions. The exterior was the interior. The slick surfaces provided no place to rest. Only in the movies is it as simple as smashing mirrors. These labyrinthine mirrors were more like glassy volcanic rock that had oozed and solidified from a molten core.
Curtains of watery reflections stall by inspiring a strange sense of wonder at how this labyrinth came into existence. At every glance, it tried to convince me that I was staring at myself and asked me to ignore the way it hacked everything up while it distorted the past so I could not keep track of where I had been.
How could anyone find beauty here? Only a great deceiver could have built this. It was under everyone’s nose in this place, but it had already taken them in – to the degree that they did not see how lost they were in it. The confusion became normalized. Some people even wanted to live here because it had lured them in through the fascism of what they found beautiful. But it also trapped people whose idea of beauty sharply contrasted with it. In a sense, this labyrinth was like a black hole behind the empty mirror image sucking everyone in to worship or blaspheme at its altar of power over truth.
I tell myself
is the same
so I do not see
what I have not