Friday, November 4, 2022

My Future's Past 2

The Rape
Oil on canvas aprox 11x14

     It was about this time that my grandfather was diagnosed with cancer.  My grandmother battled later stage kidney disease brought on by diabetes.  Sitting on the screened in porch of their home , they both opened up with stories that were never really shared with the grandkids.  They shared a challenging life, raising five kids in a two bedroom home my wife and I sometimes find a bit small.  They talked about financial struggles and the worries of maintaining employment in a milltown with little regard for the laborers.  Unions were at their strongest providing medical insurance and leads to the next factory with a big contract.  They both worked without much open complaint, soetime sixty or even more hours.  The real money for my grandfather was in the overtime.  My Grandmother, working as a piecework presser made her money with her speed and efficiency, but there was little quality time left for family, and that had other costs, and longer tales.

    Those discussions fueled my own fires.  As a young man I was filled with rage and fear.  I knew I wanted nothing to do with those damned factories.  My path led through the U.S. Coast Guard and into college studying art.  After a day listening to the tales from my elders, I returned to the studio and painted a scream.  There are attempts at symbolology and a search for a voice.  This image haunts me.
    Both of my grandparent passed away within five years of me paintng this one.  Both endured years of physical pain.  But they saw me earn my degree, and they attended my first solo exibit.  I think they were proud.

My Future's Past 1

The Factory and theTree
oil on canvas aprox 18x24

     I am going to post for a bit, a series of older works I pulled out of my storage spot... this is work I still enjoy from the mid 1980's till 2010. Hope folks enjoy.

     This one goes way back... this was a student piece. Early in my last year of undergraduate school I painted this on location. I was looking for a nice spot along the beautiful Wattuppa Pond in my home town, Fall River. But the shoreline was grown over abd not accessable.  The city, an old mill town, was once the textile capitol ofcthe entire USA, really.  At some point I was behind the Kerr Mill, an old factory turned outlet store selling factory seconds and overstocks, before they got all commercialized. 
     I was thinking about Charles Sheeler and Picasso, Pollack, and a few others... this was the very start of finding my voice, thw genesis of mt self  The beginning of what I would ultimately call fusionism, my "style" when asked what it was called.

      One afternoon, I entered my studio to find one of my professors, Sig Haines, (sophomore painting), sitting in my chair, studying at this painting.  Sig is a colorist with impeccable drawing skills, considered by many, including me, to be a true contemporary master. He looked from the painting and said to me, "I love coming into your studio, Chuck.  There is always something good on your easel." Later, as I was working as an artist, showing regularly, gaining a following, he told me this was the painting that told him I could be a painter. (Took awhile to catch up to my Swain school peers, as I was a transfer student).  That comment has stayed with me 40 years.  I remember it whenever I look at this painting.  I have never let it go.