This Grimaldis show is so cohesive. The pieces together have a cumulative power. The drawings and paintings definitely have an identity as a group and play off each other, enhance each other. Each piece has presence and stands alone but the drawings and paintings together, wow!
Artists aren’t always the best at knowing how to hang their own work or create a show. I started showing with Grimaldis in 2009 and [owner Constantine Grimaldis] has great instincts. Our aesthetics line up. He’s been very supportive of my work and continues to be. Grimaldis loves art. He knows what he is doing.
How has the pandemic affected your creative practices?
The pandemic sent me to my studio every day. I’m isolated there, so I was able to work and get a fair amount done. I went to New York to see the Alice Neel show [at the Met] and saw the Jasper Johns show in Philadelphia. I haven’t been visiting a lot of galleries. I missed a couple of really good shows. The pandemic, until recently, has kept artists out of openings and galleries. The pandemic has been really hard on the art world.
How have you adapted to feeding yourself creatively?
I’m an existentialist. One has to do the work. One has to show up and have a regular schedule. I have too many friends who say they can’t work regularly. They talk about inspiration. I believe in what I’m doing and have to be here to work. One percent inspiration and the rest is showing up, working. It’s all about doing it. Grace Hartigan once told me she worked every single day. I don’t work every day but I work most days.
What are you working on now?
I am following up on some paintings that go with this show but that I hadn’t finished in time. I’ve been using oil stick, copper oil stick over black and off-white ground, textures, and little inflections of color on gessoed paper. I don’t know if I will go to full color. I’m having a good time.
What about landscape?
Landscape has always influenced my work. Landscape is space and light, looking at space. When I’m out west, landscape is inspirational and spiritual. Another thing about my recent paintings, I think they have a sense of touch. By sense of touch, I mean when I’m using a brush, I feel it. There’s a vibration around some of the edges. There are hard edges, but there’s a vibration, and I read that as “touching.”
Whose work do you have enthusiasm for?
[Laughs] I like Richard Serra, Agnes Martin. I look at artwork of all different styles. I like Rothko, Anne Truitt. Richard Serra’s line drawings. Mary Heilmann, Amy Sillman, Hilma af Klint, the light artist James Turrell. That’s just a few. There are many more artists whose work I like.
What was the last big trip you took prior to the pandemic?
Italy in 2018. Of course, I did all the cathedrals and museums and ate lots of pasta. I spent quite a bit of time in France, one of my favorite places. I did a residency in France, lived in a village, stayed in a chateau. I made a lot of drawings there.
Are there shows you are looking forward to?
Joan Mitchell will be at the BMA, Sophie Taeuber-Arp at MOMA, Bridget Riley at the Phillips Collection, Kandinsky at the Guggenheim Museum.
What are you reading?
All that She Carried: The Journey of Ashley’s Sack, A Black Family’s Keepsake by Tiya Miles. History of the Baltimore Ma and Pa Railroad, it’s about where I lived on East Lane, where the tracks ran right through the meadow. Ninth Street Women: Lee Krasner, Elaine de Kooning, Joan Mitchell, Helen Frankenthaler by Mary Gabriel. It’s a very important book. It’s a heavy read. I read a wide range. I pulled out the Philip Roth, American Pastoral. Sitting here waiting to be read is Letters of A Nation edited by Andrew Carroll.