Word-Painting # 1

This is a collage. Two feet by 18 inches or so. The canvas is painted black along the edges. A layer of glossy gluey finish holds it all together. A painted on kind of glue-gloss that ruined old cheap red-handled brushes, where the soft bristle became stiff sharp and gouging. Upper left hand corner, perhaps too obvious, is a magazine cut-out of a piece of plywood with the spray-painted words “Welcome to L.A.     Some Assembly Required”  (the book was a small volume about the 1994 L.A. earthquake and the structural damages it caused on buildings and on human bodies – picked up in a Goodwill in Canoga Park, California).

Everything else on the canvas is themed with a entwining chaos. There are fire department workers climbing down from the top of the ceiling or the sky, searching for beating hearts among the wreckage, leading the eyes along to an outstretched and finger pointing man dressed in a white dress shirt who has flames tracing the angle of his pointing. There is an explosion in the center. An amalgam of different images of fire or of colors similar, reflective sunset colors, or window frames holding the reflections of fires burning down neighbor’s homes. Backdrop is a caved in living room of an apartment with feathers from a burst open down pillow or blanket covering the surfaces like snow. More fiery streets to the upper right. A man in a pool covers his ears and runs away from the inferno. This man in a pool covering his ears is a chlorinated rectangle of his own. A little blue island among the sea of flames. Further down a man in an aquamarine bathrobe and an L.A.P.D. hat looks sadly at his feet, an expression of great loss or helplessness, while firefighters drag a hose off into the distance down the street behind him.

A woman in white leaps over a crack in the street, slowly filled with water, the unhurt palm trees are three in the back. She leaps to the bottom right corner of the canvas. Where the others congregate. There are layered images of bundled-up-in-blankets or upset looking people inhabiting here and now there. The discouraged police officer in retirement sighs and walks away from the rescue efforts. Above him, central canvas street, three men are assisting each other with lifting a car into the angelfire above. A series of vignettes as originally intended. A fireman scatters his bucket of lava onto the hood of the car. Bottom left of the canvas, after the collapsed highway, the rooftop of a stopsign shaped building, the hillside Malibu vista summer home half-collapsed off of the cliff of its purchase, the perch precarious and the fallen belongings transformed by subtle paper lines into a pile of fallen cereal boxes. The foyer became circle K. Overall there is a circular, swirling sensation… the ground is not level. The elements are not as they belong in normal life. All is warped into a skyline that no one can see. (tucked away at the very bottom. beneath the feet of the men burning the car in the angelfire, the retired officer, and a direct angle spread from the gap full of water the woman in white is jumping is the silhouette of downtown office buildings lit up at night.)

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