warm snow | 2006-2012
"warm snow" is a phrase from Gertrude Stein's libretto for the opera Four Saints in Three Acts. Snow and felt are insulators and make quiet. Cold temperatures preserve freshness. In cold regions life is reduced to essentials. An occasional thaw, however, enables flow. In the Grail legends, Parsifal sets out on his quest in the month of May—and it's snowing: warm snow.
This series includes felt work—both freestanding and wall pieces—and works-on-paper. As in the preceding bodies of work, the felt pieces are stitched together by hand with pale grey silk thread. This (doomed) attempt at regularity is in opposition to the compressed chaos that is felt. Like the earlier work, the freestanding pieces are self-supporting; there are no armatures or additional supporting materials. The seams function as exoskeletons, enabling open interior spaces, while simultaneously provoking and resisting felt's natural inclination to buckle, stretch, droop, and torque. When grouped, they form settlements of basic architectural forms. In the felt wall pieces, shapes are cut out and then inlaid (stitched) into position not unlike marquetry.
Polar bears and boots make frequent appearances. The off-white felt initially brought polar bear fur to mind. Some time prior to the beginning of this series, I received a small, souvenir-of-Alaska polar bear. I put it on my worktable and it worked on me, as did the chapter on polar bears in Barry Lopez’s Arctic Dreams. Boots appeared as an imperative in my mind seemingly out of nowhere, though I had seen and been moved by ancient Chinese burial boots in an exhibition at the time. I associate boots with childhood and when I wear boots I’m more likely to clump around and splash in puddles and generally behave less “etiquette-ly,” as Thelonius Monk would say. Also, when one is on a quest—when one goes adventuring, boots are a necessity. It’s protection against whatever may come up underfoot.
Selections of work from this series were shown in two solo exhibitions, warm snow: Sculpture in Two and Three Dimensions at Garrison Art Center, Garrison, New York, in 2014 and warm snow at Adam Baumgold Gallery, New York, in 2010— and in two two-person exhibitions, The Idea of North with Michael Brennan at 210 Gallery, Brooklyn, in 2009 and Cyrilla Mozenter & David Storey at Lesley Heller Gallery, New York, in 2008. Works from this series were also shown in several group exhibitions: Art/Sewn at Asheville Art Museum, Asheville, North Carolina, in 2012, Art/Sewn: Tradition, Innovation, Expression at FiveMyles, Brooklyn, in 2011, Neo-Constructivism: Art, Architecture, and Activism at Rutgers University, Newark, and Summer at Knoedler Project Space, New York, both in 2008.