The wide rim of this frame started the piece. To me it was a runway for text. An open blank.
WHAT DO MEN NOT HAVE?, 2001, was painted the five days prior to 9/11. The frame came first in the creative process. In the culture of my heritage questions are powerful things, veritably the language of endeavor, and in some cases some questions are worth scribing. I judged this question as worthy. So I wrote it down. As for answers to the question? In What Do Men Not Have? I offered three.
There are observing pairs in this piece looking at each other, separate entities, distant yet close.
I painted it the weekend before a planned driving trip to see the Picasso Erotique exhibit in Montreal (closing that weekend), followed on the way back with a planned family visit in High Falls, NY on the 15th. I finished the piece on Monday the 10th. That Tuesday I was to pick up the car in Jersey City (PATH train, one stop under the Hudson), drive across the George Washington Bridge to pick up my friend Gino then head north.
Ten minutes before I left my apartment news of a crash into one of the World Trade Center buildings was vaguely hitting the local morning news shows. At Christopher and Greenwich Street I stood with people looking downtown and up at the hole in the North tower. “How would they repair it?” I wondered. I figured a small plane lost it’s way. By the time I reached the street level in NJ someone on the shore there said a second plane had hit, one in each tower.
The tension I felt to finish this piece was in large part the deadline of leaving for Montreal and to do something significant enough to qualify me heading up to see Picasso’s work.
The last pieces I added to the painting were two tiny fragment of mirror I’d found on the street corner that Monday morning, the day before. They are at either end of the base of the “crown” hovering over the bottom right hand corner.
We were able to get up to Montreal and to my family gathering. We added an American Flag to our car. We weren’t the only one’s on the road waving support and sharing grief.
The piece is still a projection as it speaks of men, first and foremost, as a group.
Three answers to one question.
What Do Men Not Have?
What Do Men Not Have? A: Peace Amongst Ourselves. A: Our Own Common Knowledge. A: Fathers Who Breed Freely.
Acrylic and mixed medium on glass and frame
26 x 34.5 inches