Max Ernst and company

 

Saguaro in a Desert Landscape
2020
Acrylic on panel
14 by 11 inches

This period of extended isolation, while challenging for many has proven a boon personally . For some reason I am included in quite a few exhibitions this year of 2020, virtual and actual  . Earlier this week I received notice that two of my religious/Christian themed works were accepted by Trinity Episcopal Cathedral’s annual Trinity Art Show in Sacramento California , I will be trekking up to Sacramento for  physical drop off early in October-fingers crossed further restrictions and or devastating fire are avoided.

In the virtual realm I’ve been as blessed, several exhibitions in LA and beyond , of especial note Transition at Launch LA just closed. Jurored by Holly Jerger an artist (an person)  I admire , she selected a distinct collection of work, far removed from the usual predictable drab LA fare. Given her association with the Craft Museum it was perhaps unsurprising that many works selected were distinctive in their hands-on techniques.

I was also honored that my Herakles Tapestry was included in the vibrant collection of works at the expansive Brea Gallery in Brea California. This year’s Made in California (MICA) seemed socio-politically timely with much emphasis on POC/gender/queer art themes. To be honest I felt my work and my presence a bit anachronistic. Nonetheless pleased to have been included, I believe that show closes today.

But of most particular delight was having the following painting included in an upcoming  virtual exhibition hosted by the University of Arizona, Museum of Art, Picturing 2020: A Community Reflects. The University of Arizona’s Museum of Art has an impressive permanent collection, one I
had not initially  expected. In response to the isolation of Covid upon artists in particular the museum selected new art to be in conversation with art from their permanent collection. In a moment of being “heard”, the museum’s selection for my work Saguaro in a Desert Landscape was none other than Max Ernst’s Arizona Nightingale. Ernst is quite an inspiration , to be compared in any way is an honor, for the comparison to be from an art museum I admire and had frequently visited, quite an honor indeed. 

I floated as lightly as Ernst’s nightingale the rest of the day!

Max Ernst
Arizona Nightingale
1946
University of Arizona, Museum of Art, permanent collection

Please pardon the paltry image of Ernst’s painting, it is what I have been able to find, a link to the painting and its provenance (which is impressive) follows:

https://uarizona.pastperfectonline.com/webobject/7D540225-B162-467E-A1D3-122721033944

 

 

In place of traditional museum label written by a curator, the museum is using my own words to describe my painting ; as usual bumbling, but sincere:

“An existential darkness is revealed in spite of the joyous coloring and surface patterning, which stylistically references my affection for medieval miniaturist illumination, by so doing I inadvertently expose my inner self…the hazard and boon of spontaneous expression.”

The exhibition will run September 26th through March 28th, via this link:

VIRTUAL: Picturing 2020: A Community Reflects

 

We are snowbirds to Tucson , spending our winter holidays in the beautiful high desert, visiting our growing adopted pig family at Ironwood Pig Sanctuary and of course visiting the University Art Museum (their permanent collection of 15th and 16th c. paintings incredible , most particularly Maestro Bartolomé’s series of panel paintings). This year with Covid closings not sure what our Tucson winter will be like, thankfully the saguaro , and perhaps the mythical nightingale , will be there to welcome us back.

Saguaro in a Desert Landscape
2020
Acrylic on panel
14 by 11 inches

 

New painting: Self Portrait of the Artist as Saint Anthony of the Desert Facing Death

Self Portrait of the Artist as Saint Anthony of the Desert Facing Death
2020
Oil on panel
18 by 24 inches

I never really know how my work will be perceived, I try not to think about it. My work is earnest , often with a degree of what I hope passes for wit , but is never intended to be ironic . I work diligently and sincerely on all my work. Perhaps I am humorless, too dour , but I put my heart into the work.

So with this in mind I was taken aback by an emoji “comment” (is an emoji really a comment?)  made recently  on my Instagram page after having posted this recently completed self portrait. I really dislike facial expression emojis , I earnestly try to avoid them, trusting my command of language will properly convey my intentions .

Of all emojis the one I dislike the most is this one : 😂.

I find it infuriating. It seems to embody the moronification of society in general and Los Angeles particularly.  To garner public approval most everything needs to be a joke – a sarcastic , mocking joke laced heavily with irony is most desired . And so this painting was received. I must put this in perspective, it was a single post , by an artist who from his IG site we learn that his specialty is “big dicks and wet c#nts”- so we are speaking of a quite the gentleman. But of course the gentleman in question possesses youth , is handsome , fit and talented in a Tom of Finland. He has well over ten thousand followers and to attest to his smug arrogance , follows no one in return . Oh , and he paints shirtless to better display his artfully paint be-speckled pecs.

I mention all this because my initial response to his puerile emoji comment was to be affronted. I even blocked him in my disgruntledness for a few minutes . But then I realized just how perfect this comment was for a painting, a self portrait, intending to skewer/reject worldliness . If I paint myself as a Holy Fool ,albeit in the self conscious irony I generally reject , I need to expect some hecklers . So from wounded-ness I now possess a degree of pride in having elicited a reaction from just the sort of shallow nincompoop Anthony sought to avoid.

 

This painting started out, as so much does, unintentionally. My daily studio routine generally starts with automatic drawing . I try to not focus on any particular reference material , or getting details “right”, just the free flow of ideas inspired from who knows where . Such was the case of this sketch made I am guessing close to seven years ago while living in San Diego – a difficult period in our/my life .

I hadn’t intended for it to be a painting let alone an allegorical self portrait, yet there was something about the dashed off drawing that beckoned further exploration. So a few months back I decided to revisit , revise the by now , quite familiar theme of St.Anthony of the Desert, his temptations and my appropriating his reality .

 

The painting went well nearly from the start , each element revealing itself to me , and in this period of plague isolation, quarantine an anchorite would find familiar and social unrest akin to third century upheaval , it felt a timely theme.

Self Portrait of the Artist as Saint Anthony of the Desert Facing Death
2020
Oil on panel
18 by 24 inches

What follows are the details .

 

Seated upon a memento mori throne , I was inspired by a stuffed and stitched example I made awhile back for another Anthony inspired tableau- the circle continues .

The textile model.
A detail of the maker , painting Death as Death models offstage – I have a fondness for paintings within paintings. I also have a fondness for gilded satyr angels .

 

Detail of accompanying figures that I haven’t particularly explored the meaning of : Hirsute Giant, Druidboy and Millefleur Boy ( a favorite).

 

Yesterday’s automatic drawing shares the theme of the painting , a memento mori reflection prompted I know by personal concern . David spent much of this week in the hospital, heart concerns , a procedure was needed , we were of course concerned. It appears all went well, fingers crossed , candles lit , novenas uttered , he will be on his way to good health. He is resting now , Viola a lackluster nursemaid , but he’s home .

There isn’t an emoji to express my gratitude.

 

Self Portrait of the Artist as Saint Anthony of the Desert Facing Death
2020
Oil on panel
18 by 24 inches

 

Graphite , Issue 11, Spring 2020

www.instagram.com/p/CAqzFlrl9nw/

 

I’m delighted that my Goblin Market was selected for the spring issue of Graphite. A handsome art journal collaboration between UCLA art department and the Hammer Museum. Validating to have such respectable institutions give a thumbs up.

As I am old , I look forward to the hard copy. There was to be a launch party last week but of course … another doozy in Doozyville.

There is a quick preview from Instagram above.

I was taken with their call to art and felt compelled to submit straight away, feeling my work a good fit for their quirky yet quite mindful approach: 

Choosing such a vague, yet clearly loaded, theme such as fruit, really appealed to me.

Super pleased I submitted.

Now back to work.

 

Junk

 

NSFW or the easily offended.

Silly post, too much time on my hands apparently, trying to avoid weekend housekeeping…

But in seriousness trying to navigate in my work how much nudity, particularly male, I should depict. When is it gratuitous? When essential? When just free expression?  Still processing this question, but in the meantime, peen.


No intention to self censor, but I do want to be more mindful of my own intention. Recently , when we were still having dinner parties, a guest quipped that I painted “that pornographic art” ; in another situation I was referred to as a “penis painter”. Nothing particularly wrong with either but that hadn’t been my conscious intention. Nudity is an element to my work but I hadn’t thought it the main focus. Again, feeling more mindful of intention.

But enough naval gazing, I’ve scrubbing to attend to.

New Painting:The Knight’s Tale

Latest painting inspired very loosely by Chaucer’s  The Knight’s Tale ,the first yarn from the Canterbury Tales.

The Knight’s Tale
2020
Acrylic on canvas panel
18 by 24 inches

My reading group, the Agora Foundation, in enchanted Ojai California(https://www.agorafoundation.org/), has a Great Books focus and this reading season they selected works that consisted of narratives within a greater narrative, along with the Boccaccio’s Decameron and the Arabian Knights , Chaucer’s perennially relevant Tales were the reading offerings, all up for fascinating group discussion. By far Chaucer’s work was my favorite, the Decameron while bawdy and amusing was populated by characters a bit thin, I encountered  difficulty in differentiating one from another; Arabian Knights I found unreadable, the macho blood thirsty violence, the rock solid foundation of misogyny , xenophobia and racism was repulsive, it  sickened me, I wasn’t able to read more than a third. But The Canterbury Tales was a pure delight, and while The Knight’s Tale wasn’t really my favorite of the lot (that recognition would be for the Wife of Bath, most especially her rip-roaring Prologue) the Knight’s Tale was rich in chivalric detail masquerading in classical garb; low hanging fruit for a Neo-medievalist illuminator .

As much as I thoroughly enjoyed the book and was in fact eager to discuss it, digging deeper, when the time came to join the banter I was completely silent, my usual insecurities trumping any desire to participate. However during the discussion, which I did find illuminating, I once again turned to doodling my thoughts and responses. I’ve responded this way to social awkwardness since boyhood, very rarely would my voice be heard but my notebooks were packed with my feverish scrawling.

Below is an example from that day’s mute notebook:

Free associative sketch for/from “The Knight’s Tale”.

A few more details follow:

The Knight’s Tale
detail

The Knight’s Tale
detail

The Knight’s Tale
detail

Given the isolation and pangs of reflection during this Covid plague, this painting provided some timely  “content”:

 

That is it from here, hoping all, and this being global, truly all, that all stay sane, well and of good cheer.

The Knight’s Tale
2020
Acrylic on canvas panel
18 by 24 inches

 

 

Torrance Art Museum:Hobson’s Choice recognition

The Temptations of St.Anthony of the Desert in an Italian Landscape (after Jakob Phillip Hackert, 1778)
2020
Oil on canvas
24 by 36 inches

Awoke this morning to a notification that my work (the painting shown) had been recognized by the Torrance Art Museum here in Southern California for their ongoing Hobson’s Choice. Hobson’s Choice is an online presentation of seven new artists per week, particularly encouraging and timely during this period of social isolation.

Thank you Torrance Art Museum for the support, personally and more broadly.

http://www.torranceartmuseum.com/hobsons-choice/2020/4/24/week-4-leonard-greco-the-temptations-of-stanthony-of-the-desert-in-an-italian-landscape-after-jakob-phillipe-hackert-1778

The Temptations of St.Anthony of the Desert in an Italian Landscape (after Jakob Phillip Hackert, 1778)
2020
Oil on canvas
24 by 36 inches

Available Work

 

 

Stuffed Paintings, available!

 

There comes a point that an artist just needs room, and storing works gets rather expensive, with that in mind I felt it time to actively try to offer my work to potential collectors. The link below will allow you to browse oil paintings, watercolor paintings, acrylic paintings, drawings, soft sculpted Stuffed Paintings-I will post more as I go through my files.

If you have any questions  or requests for works not shown please don’t hesitate to contact me directly at neobaroque@mac.com, I’d be happy to chat with you. 

LG

Link can be found on side bar under Available Work and here:

https://boondocksbabylon.com/available-work/

Paintings, available!

Details found in side bar link Available Work

Details found in sidebar Available Work link

Adopt me!