Black collages, New York 1990-93

These collage paintings were produced in several series, made in New York in the early 1990s. Similar to where we are now, that was a time of great financial uncertainty as well as marking the start of the first Gulf War, an event that I found particularly abhorrent and distressing. In retrospect, the mood of these works must have derived from those difficult circumstances. Their large scale and gloomy tonality invited immersion and contemplation. They were not however, paintings made in a conventional manner. Each was a copy of a small watercolor that had been made quite casually. The process of copying allowed me to take myself out of the work as an expressive author. I became a technician, assembling a copy. This was a valuable position in relation to such emotionally charged works. There was no painting done on the surface of these collages. All the paper for each each of them was painted beforehand, as an inventory of black and grey surfaces from which details could be taken and glued to the surface of the canvas. A new inventory of painted paper, produced with new colors, tonalities, and textures, was prepared for each piece and leftover paper was never reused on succeeding collages. In 1993 three of these were shown as part of a one-person exhibition at Tennisport Arts, a Long Island City gallery run by Christian Haub in New York. A year or two later they were rolled up for storage.