Cast Offs

When I started to pick up these castoffs, I noticed details that I would never have seen from the road. I was “picky” about what I took and what I left. Not all of the trash made it into the studio-- just the flattened paper (and some metal), smashed by cars or feet. I felt self-conscious picking up garbage at first, like I was being watched. I also began to notice the species of weeds that seem to like bad soil (or no soil) and how lovely they really are, up close. Rebirth, in the city, on vacant land, takes its shape in weeds and plants that have low perceived value and life goes on in these plots whether or not we value them. In suburbia weeds are inconvenient and trash a result of too much convenience. Here, on Upper Euclid Avenue, junk is the representation of loneliness and abandonment, in a vast and vacant part of town. For years, these plots have been neglected and ignored. There is a moral judgment that becomes entangled in trash; the idea that certain places have less value than others. In making paintings that use these elements, I was interested in how, out of necessity and familiarity, we create arbitrary value-systems based upon old ideas of beauty and worth.

Click on any image for a larger view.