Rearranged World: Quattro Stagioni

Rearranged World: Quatrro Stagioni 3

The theme for Quattro Stagioni (Four Seasons) was inspired by an atlas I found at a used book sale that had particularly colorful maps with hues beyond earth standard pastels or earth tones. These maps use a bright colors to indicate changes in elevation which I arranged in impressionistic shapes of similar hue.

The title Quattro Stagioni refers both to the colors evoking the passing of the seasons and the shapes in the composition.

Rearranged World: At War

A reference to conflict and struggle, I used maps of expeditions and battles that played out across Europe and the Middle East during World War 1. The wrestlers, in hues representing opposing states, stand in for the warriors as the world battled over land conquered and rearranged many times over.

Art workshop | Limpopo, South Africa

With 9 other artists, I learned traditional wood carving with local Venda artists in a spectacular setting in the Soutpansberg, near the northern border of South Africa. The days were spent under the trees, tapping out small figures from wood with chisels and hammers surrounded by a primordial landscape with wild creatures on the edge of our camp (and sometimes in the camp).

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I painted Tree Meditation in 1998 when I was in a workshop in Tuscany. Since that time, it’s weathered several indignities–being stretched and unstretched for international travel, rolled up, folded, dropped and tipped over onto pointy objects. It’s a large canvas, 6 x 6 feet more or less, and its glossy, dark surface suffered some wear and tear, including holes, scratches, chips and stretched out bulges.

It remains one of my favorite pieces and has a lot of personal meaning for me. I painted this work after meditating under a particular oak tree, pondering my own problems and reflecting on what the tree’s point of view might be. I recognized at the time how absurd my concerns were to an immobile oak that can’t see and can’t think, at least in the way I can. This tree, I imagined, had a much different perspective, alone in the middle of a field for decades “watching” the world change around him, humans coming and going, the tree forever stationary, unknowing and isolated from any of its kin but alive just the same. And beautiful.

I ignored the condition of Tree Meditation for a long time as it hung on my wall, poorly lit, hiding its flaws. Then I lit it from a new angle, which brought the painting to life, but also revealed its record of abuse. The uneven, highly reflective surface in particular made the bumps and lumps more noticeable, so I took the piece down and pulled it from its stretcher bars with the goal of restoring it. I rebuilt the wooden stretcher to make it stronger and less prone to warping. To constrict the canvas fibers and make the canvas taught, I applied hot water with sponges and a spray bottle on the back the painting after it was re-stretched. I touched up the scratches, carefully matching the colors with the same pigments, which felt strange after not having painted on the work for 12 years. I also added more glazing as I’d improved as a painter over the last decade and knew better what to do to bring out the color and contrast.

The last step was to rephotograph the piece in its new condition before returning it to the wall. I had a single photo of the completed work, which I took with my very first digital camera over a decade ago. It poorly captured the colors and textures of the work. Glossy, dark, large paintings are particularly difficult to photograph without getting odd glare, but after some trial and error, I positioned the painting in our backyard at the perfect angle to photograph from our deck, minimizing reflections properly exposing the dark and light areas. Restoration complete.

Cut. Fold. Interrupt. Repeat. @ Linksoul

CUT.FOLD.INTERRUPT. REPEAT. from linksoul on Vimeo.

From the press release

Linksoul Lab is pleased to present CUT FOLD INTERRUPT REPEAT, a two-person show featuring new work from Peter Howells and Angela Rose Voulgarelis. The show runs from September 25 -October 23, [2010]…

Here’s the bit about me.

PETER HOWELLS’ “Rearranged World” serves as an analogy to the destructive and creative processes of both nature and humanity. Using obsolete objects and found imagery, Howells carefully and systematically rearrange[d] their parts by inverting the grid, creating unexpected and engaging forms. The “ground” for each piece is a discarded letterpress typeset tray found at a junk shop. Inserted within each niche are strips of out-dated maps. A discourse on how we all process the world around us, Howells inter[wove] simple geometric patterns that disguise additional  layers of order and information.

And about Angela’s work.

Paying homage to a series of texts, ANGELA ROSE VOULGARELIS translates Marianne Williamson’s poem Our Deepest Fear as read by Nelson Mandela at his 1994 Presidential inauguration, poetry by Ingrid de Kok, John Donne, and writings by Agnes Martin. These texts are meticulously beaded into strands of quartz, jade and coral using morse code. The artist describes the making as a form of meditation. Similar to prayer beads, repetition and pattern allow for the translation of text to occur automatically, and with minimal amount of conscious effort, which in turn allows greater attention to be focused to the meaning of the texts themselves…