"I happened to look at the pavement and I noticed that the experience was the same as looking at the Tobey." 

-- John Cage.

Mark Tobey, Universal Field, tempera and pastel on cardboard, 1949, Whitney Museum

Asphalt Archive

The oiled, painted, cracked, repaired, and eroding surfaces of asphalt are a marker of human presence, time passing, and impermanence. Rendered within photographic frames, these surfaces are tiny worlds within worlds; rich ground for the meanings one mines in the abstract. 

Recall, for example, AIC's beautiful 2013 "Irving Penn: Underfoot," exhibit of the photographer's perspective-altering views of Manhattan street detritus. Or John Cage's revelation that the pavement under his feet became of interest after he'd seen Mark Tobey's all-over paintings; another affirmation of Cage's exploration of the minutiae of the everyday as the path of spiritual awakening. 

Over the last few years I've found a great deal of inspiration for textile work in studying street surfaces.  August 2015 presented an opportunity to take and post a new photograph every day.  One thing it brought home to me is the concentration and daily re-dedication needed to embark on On Kawara-esque endeavors that require doing a certain something every day.


Recall that Kawara's task was to create one date painting each day -- hand lettering and numbering the day, month, and year; each date painted a specific color on one of a number of set sizes of canvas (recorded in a book), accompanied by a page from the day's newspaper lining a custom made box.  If the steps could not all be completed, there was no date painting for that day (and no backsies).  Which turns out to be a lot of moving parts to set into motion every day.


In August 2015, I set a task, far more scaled down than Kawara's (whose date paintings stretched across decades), was to take and post one photograph every day for a month (which you can view as an effect of my primary employment not being derived from art; or that perhaps as an artist I've let the former matter too much toward devoting sufficient dedication toward furthering my art; or possibly the generational devolution of attention spans in the 21st century).


There were days when the photographic opportunity, access to my camera, and downloading the photographs to my laptop went seamlessly.  There were days, following an Apple upgrade, when my laptop and camera appeared to be noncommunicating aliens, despite having emerged from the same corporate parent.  There were days when I saw amazing asphalt patterns but had forgotten my camera.  There were days when I took photographs but lacked the time or inclination to get them posted.

Since the asphalt project of August, I have continued to explore the surfaces and resonances inherent in asphalt.  


A life lesson here, if there is one, is that art, like life, requires us mostly to be present to the moment -- the decision of what we do with those moments is always the task at hand.

Île-de-France, Paris, October 2016
Île-de-France, Paris, October 2016
Chicago, September 2016
Naperville, February 2016
West 5th Street, Cincinnati, April 2016
Woodstock, Illinois, March 2016
Death is the Glass of Life Broken I, 18 x 24," acrylic, shaved graphite on canvas, October 2015.
Death is the Glass of Life Broken II, 18 x 24," acrylic, shaved graphite on canvas, October 2015.

Cincinnati, August 16, 2015, 9:08 pm
Naperville, August 26, 2015, 7:03 am
Within, Cincinnati, August 16, 2015, 10:58 am
The Genuine Heart of Sadness, posted August 14, 2015
dark side of the moon, posted August 13, 2015
Falling Stars, Naperville, August 9, 2015, 6:25 am
Heat of the Sun, Naperville, August 8, 2015, 8:28 am
Scarred, August 7, 2015
Change, Naperville, August 3, 2015, 6:22 am, posted August 6, 2015.
Confluence, Naperville, August 2, 2015, 6:18 am, posted August 5, 2015.
The Line, Naperville, August 2, 2015, 6:22 am, posted August 4, 2015.
Shine, Naperville, Illinois, August 3, 2015, 6:05 am
"The Scent of Creosote," Naperville, Illinois, August 2, 2015, 6:18 am
Traffic Line, July 31, 2015, 5:47 pm, Lisle, Illinois