Possibly adding to dimensions of character, there have been several significant events that have occurred in the last two weeks.
First, my wife and I have signed a lease on a new apartment in DC that is equipped with enough space for a studio. This is a big event since for the last year I have been piecing non-collaborative work together in my living room/office/dining room/library. I am currently working on two pieces that are 50"x120" complete with a makeshift bus stop for an installation at the Glenview Mansion Art Gallery in November. The studio space is a welcome addition and will likely produce some future posts specific to my work until the official website is up and running.
Second, I have left a position as preparator at an area gallery in DC. I will refrain from mentioning the name of the gallery so as not to create any potential conflicts of interest should I ever critique the work exhibited in that space. [Granted, blogs generally act as an environment with little concern for conflicts of interest or accountability.] What I will say, in my bittersweet farewell here posted, is that it has been a privilege working there the past ten months and while there are portions of the job I enjoyed far more than others, it became apparent that it was time to move on in the spring when juggling too many things with respect to college/university teaching responsibilities and art production my two main priorities.
A preparator is a funny job of sorts - a pseudo carpenter, painter and janitor all rolled into one. It is by far the least glorious position, and in a smaller gallery it would be the chore of the operator or hired desk help. It is, at best, a job. But the position also has this covert operation element - a fly on the wall if you will of gallery operations and gallery-consumer relations. Despite wage earnings, the occasional free lunch, discussions on art, and eavesdropping on everything, what the position allowed best was an opportunity to learn an appropriate business model not only on how to operate a successful gallery, but also how to create a successful methodology in the business of art as an individual.
Of course, osmosis and application are dissimilar, but if I am able to apply what I observed these last few months, and even to educate generations of students that I teach, then the experience will have exceeded its potential.
Third, last week I learned my father has prostate cancer. Caught very early, and soon to be treated, I do not look upon this with breathless devastation as some might expect. This does not mean that I do not find gravitas with the discovery and diagnosis. But the event has created a certain awareness, one that will likely be reflected within my work in future months.
In late 2001 and early 2002 I was a volunteer at a radio station in Moline, IL that had a radio information service for the blind, wherein volunteers would come to the station and read articles from the local papers over the air. Every Thursday night I read the obituaries for one hour. It was one of those moments of affirmation when I assembled what it was that I wanted to do with my life and determined goals on how to get there - the motivation concerned what words I wanted written for me at the time of my passing. Having died alone or been survived by no one did not feel like my style.
Every few months additional moments of affirmation continue to direct those goals. My father's cancer is certainly such a moment. But it is not just a moment to recollect the direction of my career. It is a moment to remember not to lose sight of what is of greatest importance.