This week, I took down my show at the Kreeger Museum in Washington, D.C. For me, it was a great success considering a monograph, a great opening reception with my daughter there, the support of the Stihl chainsaw company, and the MSNBC "Morning Joe" team. Last but not least, there was a good reaction in the press; yes, there is also something sad about taking down a show, unless of course it goes to a new venue, which unfortunately is not the case this time.
Taking down the exhibit was much work. Removing "Ukraine Trunk" from the lower level of the museum took 8 men alone and a few hours at that. Ben Gage, a professional in all sense of the word, and his team of Fine Art Specialists were brilliant in their care for, hoisting, and maneuvering of the work. The removal of the other pieces was relatively simpler, but still no easy undertaking as my work is not light in weight or small in size.
Lament has yet to be removed from the sculpture garden of the museum. The bitterly cold and icy weather simply did not make conditions right to remove my largest and most significant installation. At least I am given some solace because the work is given new majesty when blanketed with snow.
What did the show mean to me? First of all, along with the book The Lure of the Forest, it meant a thorough review of my work to date. Quite often, an artist is so involved in day to day progress that he does not take in the trajectory of the total work, which was true in my case. There are a lot of details that need to be recognized and fit in, such as, how is it possible for me to all of a sudden include photographic material into my work.
This week has been a time for review, but also a time for me to look ahead at my ongoing projects. Currently, I am looking forward to three in particular which are at different stages in their development.
China Gate, which I began a few years ago is inspired by the bulging muscled wood which reminded me of the new strength of China. I have in mind an arch, but right now only possess the crossbeam. I am hoping to find more of the same type of wood to do the two uprights and complete the archway. This will be a challenge.
The second project involves a tree I have yet to name. It begs to be made into an expression similar to that of my Iconic Shape, before it naturally evolved into Ukraine Trunk. I found this tree in October 2014 while driving through rural Virginia near the small town of Marshall. As I was incredibly busy with the show at the Kreeger at the time, it has been placed on the "back burner". I had to get my forester, Kevin Smith, to check out what kind of oak it is, red, white, or black. Black oak sometimes needs to be avoided because of its stubborn resilience. I have yet to decide whether I will use this wood for a new sculpture.
The Prevailing Wind is a project that has been waiting to be finished for at least one year. Finally, this spring I will be able to go at it because I have the time. For it, I wish to use the chainsaw in a similar manner as I did with Lament, in an expressive emotive manner.