Rebecca Horne, Charcoal and More,
Amsterdam Royal Gallery,
July 1 – 28, 2014
This exhibition consisted of three parts:
1. Paintings on paper created for a book written by Lawrence Levin. “Poems and Essays from an Ordinary Room” http://waynelevinimages.com/poems-and-essays-from-an-ordinary-room-2/
2. Marking Time, Prison Works,
3. Mark Making Location, a continuation of the idea of mark-making layers, textures with a specific location in mind.
Paintings for Poems and Essays from an Ordinary Room by Lawrence Levin
I was fortunate to be asked to respond to some of Larry’s poems for his book of poems and essays. Larry and his family have been close friends since our children were young. When he asked if I would be willing to respond to some of his poems I was honored. Larry passed February, 2014, but has left behind a touching and powerful book. I hope you check it out at the above website. Below are four works that were included in the Amsterdam exhibit.
Artist’s Notes; Prison Works
The National Endowments for the Arts awarded me a grant for the “Art in Prisons” program at the Federal Prison in Honolulu. As “artist in residence” my responsibilities were two-fold: 1. teach inmates the traditional techniques of drawing and 2. create a body of work in response to that experience. This endeavor began one of the most challenging yet rewarding experiences of my career.
These drawings are in response to this experience. They consist of two basic approaches. Realistic representations of the physical interior of the prison and process oriented drawings expressing the passing of time in prison.
The realistic series was dictated by several factors:
1. My first impression when I went into the prison;
2. My severely restricted presence for security reasons;
3. My need to establish a reputation as a skilled artist with the inmate population.
4. How to create ultra-realistic drawings where cameras are not allowed;
5. The idea of time: an inmate’s observation day after day; the time it takes to observe and duplicate a location or space;
180 Steps Series: An inmate asked if I knew how many steps it took to get “from that doorway to that doorway.” He did. 180 Steps.
Inside Unit Toward Exit: Before this opportunity to teach art in prison, I had no idea what the inside of a prison housing unit looked like. Cameras are illegal contraband in prison, so no detailed pictures are available to the casual outsider (nor to the artist). The time it took to study and draw this area was insignificant in comparison to an inmate’s time to observe it.
The Process Drawings: Marking Time
The inmates understood the process of Marking Time, whether it was keeping score for dominoes or ticking off the days of incarceration.
As I became more familiar with prison restrictions, routines and spaces, I encountered the experience of inmates counting the days and the realization that this mundane experience held true not only for the inmate, but for their families as well. “Visitors’ View” is what one sees from the waiting room while looking through the steel, bullet-proof sally door which leads to the interior of the prison. This drawing was done while waiting to be cleared and escorted to my office.
At the end of my term there was an “Art in Prison” Exhibition held at Honolulu Hale, Honolulu City Hall. In the end 170 drawings were exhibited representing both male and female inmates at the Honolulu Federal Prison.
Gallery on the Pali, Honolulu, Hawaii, November 30, 2003 – Janunary 2, 2004
Empowerment comes from connecting to the life force within. I believe there is an empowering Higher Self within all of us and art is a healing influence that can connect us with that force.
The process of discovering each of these paintings is very important to me. Each image comes after as many as 20 layers of color and paint. At times the images are inspired from a phrase in a book; sometimes my muse is another piece of art or an icon from another civilization.
Color is an important element of this work. Studying the metaphysical science of color in chakras and energy fields has influenced me to use strong color in my own work. Volunteering for Healing Touch in a hospital-setting helped me experience the “feeling” of color and the healing aspects it can generate.
By defining these images on canvas, I capture only one essence of their expansive nature. The viewer brings to each work their own experience, needs and expectations. My hope is that these images offer others the comfort, hope and encouragement that they have given me.
Reminders of Infinite Form II