Now come the men in this installation
carrying their children
This father will kneel on the gallery floor,
baggage on his back,
enfolding his child…
…both of them screaming.
His hands clutch the baby
as its hand grabs onto him.
His watch stopped at 5:59
when the guards took away his child…
…who dropped this toy dog.
The next man’s story is in his face
(drawn in charcoal and pastel on raw canvas
like most figures in this series).
He carries his daughter
wrapped in one of the burlap bags
used throughout this installation.
She’s cradled in his hands.
Her slim fingers hold the rough blanket
as if it might protect her
But at the bottom of the canvas
he stands behind a barrier
of jagged metal wires.
Will he find a way to bring her through
or is he handing her over
for someone else to take
When I saw these giant coffee bean bags
on “Artists Trading” at ShoeboxPR
I knew their texture could unite
the figures seeking sanctuary.
(Thank you, Virginia Broersma)
The impact will build as figures amass,
2 or 3 per month until summer.
In this one, a bean bag becomes
a basket carrying a child.
I wanted the woman to have dignity,
resolve, a way forward…
So I gave her a cellphone.
(This detail also shows her dress
made of 2 dozen canvas pleats.)
The emotional heart is the baby
peeking out to a place
that might not welcome them.
Each piece is around 7 feet tall,
too big to photograph indoors,
so this one is on my backyard fence.
(The streaks are light coming through.)
The woman’s face – charcoal and pastel –
has a gentleness that belies her journey.
Combining drawing and pastel
allows the raw linen texture to show.
With one hand the child holds on to his mother…
…while the other hand, roped to the bag,
clutches a toy bunny.
Here is the emotional heart of this piece.
A ray of sun streamed over the fence
to guide them.
Please join me for a year-long journey
to “Sanctuary,” my 2019 series.
This one is different.
Previous shows had individual pieces.
Now a single 40-foot installation
will arise from many components.
Refugees seeking sanctuary compel this work.
The 2 and 3-dimensional figures
with their rough harvest sacks
will extend from the wall
on canvas draped ceiling to floor.
Moving along the wall,
the effect is immersion
as witnesses to the journey,
and also as seekers
as we walk beside the travelers.
The installation will hang in layers.
Furthest back are small silhouettes
peeking out at the top.
In front on the bottom
are the largest figures like
“Meditation on a Bird’s Nest.”
Each month I’ll post more
as they evolve to 20 or more figures
each carrying their valuables
— a honeycomb, a nest, a doll, a bowl –
to wherever they will find sanctuary.
Artifacts of Grace
Aug. 28 through Sept. 22
Opening Reception: Sat., Sept. 1 from 6 to 9 PM
Artists Panel: Sat., Sept. 15 at 3 PM
String Quartet featuring Raya Yarbrough: Friday, Sept. 21 at 7 PM
Gallery Hours: Tues. through Sat. 11 AM to 5 PM
“Artifacts of Grace” will install Aug. 27
and the show opens the next day.
If you’ve followed my blog about making these
please come see them live.
Thank you to all the valued professionals
who help make my shows happen every year.
Kristine Schomaker (firstname.lastname@example.org),
my art manager — advisor – PR rep,
consulted on these works in studio visits all year.
As a curator, Kristine included me in other shows.
“In the Current” was at Blue Roof in June.
This porno peach was created for her
“Let Me Eat Cake” pop-up at POST in July.
Art critic Shana Nys Dambrot
saw the earliest 3 of this series in a preview
at MuseuMM in February.
She reminded me that the beauty of palm fronds
need significant augmentation
to develop from found objects to art.
So I went back and did “Bionic Angel”
with detailed sculpture and copper wire.
It took months before I revisited the frond shape
in “Stay With Me,”
the most complex construction in the show.
Once the work is done, it has to go on a wall…
Keith at Grayhorse Picture Framing
creates ways of hanging things by magic.
Every year Monica Nouwens and Melanie Aron
photograph my new series, no matter how reflective
What you’re reading is posted by my web-master
Ching Ching Cheng (email@example.com)
who beautifully re-designed my website this year.
All my shows are perfectly installed by
Ewan Clow at Tartan Art Services
My brilliant daughter Raya Yarbrough
composed a song cycle for this show
and will perform with a string quintet
at the gallery Friday, Sept 21 at 7 PM.
If you choose one event, come to this!
Finally I’m grateful for Rakeem Cunningham
TAG Gallery’s intrepid Director
who manages an astounding 36 solo shows per year
and keeps this immense gallery flourishing.
See you there!