Crosby Street Paintings 1997-1998
This scene I painted many times– it was just outside my door. I considered it a kind of self–portrait as it was what I saw through my eyes day in and day out. We were living in a small storefront at the time on Crosby Street in Soho. I hated this view– every morning: the oppressive buildings, the false colors, the trucks, the noise– the act of painting helped me live with this– it “poeticized” it for me. Working from landscape records the fundamental experience of connecting inner and outer nature.
I was always drawn naturally to paint “tunnel” landscapes as I liked pushing and carving the scene into the canvas. The modern urban view looking down a street with buildings on either side with the center projecting into the distance was a good basic “digging” motif to work with. I considered these pictures inside out portraits. They are large convex forms that fits over the face comfortably. They are almost all painted headsize so they are like slipping on the mask of the artist and looking through his eyes.
Living and painting in New York showed itself in my technique. The pictures became as “gritty” as the city streets through repeated layering of heavy paint. The light reflecting off this surface texture reinforced the picture plane while the scene floated deeply within.