“Exil”, 2012, oil on paper, 67″ x 80″
“Exiting Figures”, 2011, oil on paper 50″ x 64″
“Tiki Lounge”, 2011, oil on paper, 78″ x 104″
“Office at Night After Hopper”, 2012, acrylic on paper, 48″ x 68″
“Still Life with TV (William Burroughs)”, 2011, oil on paper 32″ x 38″
For many years, I had the intention to work strictly on paper in black and white. I finally took this step about two years ago, and am still at it going full tilt. When I was growing up, I drew with India ink, and I found I could follow my imagination wherever it led me. I could entertain myself endlessly in my solitude. I came to America in 1965 and studied lithography at Stanford University under Nathan Olivera. The stones we used were very old and had been imported from Spain one of them had purportedly been used by Goya, and thus, contained his “ghost”. There was magic to the lithographic process and the materials, gum arabic, tusche, and the dense black of the printing ink were a thrill to use. I began as well, what turned out to be a life long practice of drawing from the model.
Also, I should mention a Franz Kline retrospective at the San Francisco Museum, which left an indelible impression on me the toothpaste whites and obsidian blacks forming a permanent silhouette in my mind. The scale of the paintings was like that of the cinema screen. Simultaneously, I had developed an insatiable appetite for films, and delved deeply into the Berkeley Film Archives, taking many a dark voyage with Hitchcock, Sam Fuller, Bunuel, or Bergman at the helm.
It is only by sitting and writing about this that it occurs to me that through my current experiments in black and white, I have quite unwittingly stumbled back into an area which might well be the wellspring of my inspiration for almost half a century of work.