Current Model: New York City Dumpsters

Looking back over the years of my career as a painter and sculptor, a common denominator for my imagery continues to be the square and the circle. Constantly recycling textural surfaces of previous paintings, I begin each new work with a trace of the geometric forms that came before: a gentle pentimento lifting the inner spirit to what is yet to be.

This sampling of my own visual imagery, blending tones of past and present, is the motor that keeps me charged to take simple, everyday objects to their point of exhaustion: working line and color to what feels like a temporary conclusion. And just when I think I’ve finished, the dance continues for another round; an even more relentless stretch of mind and matter until the hunt for ways to see a particular form – my own Platonic quest – mysteriously ends, only to be replaced by another ubiquitous yet singular item.

Most recently, it was the almost empty traces of the Venetian Sling, a commonplace yet culturally unique part of Venetian landscape that embodies positive and negative space. The more I worked its form, the more possibilities possessed me. The Venetian streets are also filled with small, colorful “pipes”: their blending of circle and rectangle caught my eye as a subject for exploration.

These days New York City trash containers on wheels are my passion, those everyday, mostly overlooked and none too tidy boxes that get towed from demolition sites to incinerator vehicles.

The boxy, rusted, colorful figures bring back the colors and shapes of my Pennsylvania youth, box carts at the Hersey Amusement Park fair grounds or Wheelie toys zooming down roller-coaster ramps, with their tones of indigo blues, forest greens, fire engine reds, sunflower yellow and mandarin oranges: flickers of color memory lights the spirit against the hardcore edge of New York.

The dumpsters stand tall, slender and strong regardless of how they are tossed and torn around. I’m taken by their holding of tons of waste and useless debris. The hard-hat fellows on the job “don’t get it,” but they generously assist in posing the armatures for the camera. How could a tossed-around piece of street furniture get a rise so high? Perhaps that’s the definition of my work: to be captivated, caught up in a quest. The process of editing such basic shapes follows its own logic, as the work unfolds for weeks, months and years on end.