I found this moth in a book. Startlingly and chillingly white, like the Angel of Death or the Eucharist of Winter, these elegant ladies seem to entreat the abandoned Catholicism in me. That radiant white always was part of the church’s ritual; the death flowers. . .white calla lillies and roses. ..this powdery white essence, as ephemeral as ashes.
We are creeping ever closer to winter here. The six months of slush and gray that turn this city into a Ggulag. I get a ton of work done in the winter. I go out of doors less and travel more. I’ve slowly but surely embraced a more monastic existence. I don’t really go to art openings at all. This will change when FireCat Projects opens publicly. That is the one opening a month I will HAVE TO show up for; seeing as, along with my partner in crime, Stan Klein, I own the place. I used to make it a point to go to the galleries and see stuff; still do. . .but quietly now; never at openings. Openings here tend to bring out every jag-bag in the village and you can smell the desperation, resentment, jealousy and petty vindictiveness on them .
Our shows have never attracted that crowd of butt-wipes. We get a healthy balance of real world and art world. We keep things lively, we play music, give away the beer and always have a bit of food. The vibe is always convivial and friendly. Assholes and drunks are dispatched quickly and with all necessary encouragement, if they misbehave.
I’ve not had a show in Chicago in a few years and to be truthful, I was not in a big hurry to do this one. The logic among my partners was that I had enough marquee value to assure an audience for our first outing. It also made sense as my last act there, in that space. . .the place I made my work for 17 years. It is your space now. This show is really a way of saying goodbye. I won’t have a public studio again.
More than likely when you visit FireCat Projects, you will meet my partner, Stan Klein, whom I’ve known since 1985. Stan runs my career and Firecat Publishing as well as the exhibition space. For the last year, we’ve quietly contacted the artists we wanted to shine a light on and we feel like we have a compelling collection of talent. We will release our first 18 months of exhibitions in the next couple of weeks.
I’ve been working like a fool to finish my pieces for this show. I’ve always felt the toughest audience to please is here, and I really kicked it out for this show. My first success was in New York and to a large extent this is where the lion’s share of my work goes to be sold. In the last few years I’ve actually sold most of the drawing-collages in Chicago, which was a huge and welcome surprise after 25 years of doing this. I actually have a hometown audience. I always had them for my etchings, but Chicagoans were slow to warm to my drawing-collages, but man, once they did, it was kind of amazing.
These pieces–the moths and superheroes–will be part of my next theater piece, “Stations Lost,” which I am writing as I make these. It kind of builds on the questions that “This Train” asked–“What is home?” and “Who are we in the world neighborhood?”
Istanbul and its citizens made an immense impression on me as does the continual myth-making of the American narrative. This body of work provided me with some answers. I’ve outgrown the motives I had as a young artist and had my eyes opened a bit; enough so that the sight of moths circling the light, help lead me into the world.