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Other Works
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Grief Series
Collateral Damage
Collateral Damage
mixed media
Tragety at Beslan
Tragedy at Beslan
mixed media

About the Grief Series

Each of these works consists of 2 panels. The primary image focuses on the individual’s expression of grief in response to profound personal loss. But such loss extends beyond one person; these deaths take a toll on the greater community and on society. The upper panel, then, attempts to show the community in mourning. The clustered people serve as the chorus in a Greek tragedy, to help carry the burden of the individual’s loss, and to amplify the universality of those feelings.

Both the stories described below, and the accompanying photographs, haunted me from the time I saw them. That response, coupled with my opposition to all war, prodded me find a way to say something. The idea and images had to incubate for several years before I approached them with charcoal in hand. What made it possible for me, emotionally, to finally tackle the subject was when I realized that my own mother was dying (of cancer, age 78, so clearly not the same kind of grief).

With each, I did many sketches, seeking out the main elements of the images in the newspaper photos, seeking out the lines and rhythms that would bring them together visually and emotionally.

Collateral Damage: 6 Children, 2 Brothers, Wife and Parents

In the early days of the US invasion of Iraq, before the Bush administration censored newspapers from printing photos of "humanity’s greatest crime", I gathered a few articles about the attack on Baghdad in April of 2003. One story told of a man who lost six children, his wife, two brothers and both parents during airstrikes by "allied forces."

Thank you to AP photographers Ali Heider and Jerome Delay, and to the Oregonian, which published the story and pictures.

Tragedy at Beslan

In September 2004, tragedy struck in the small town of Beslan, Russia. Chechen militants took hundreds of children and their parents captive at a school; the three-day siege ended with more than 200 of them dead. The story, and the few photographs I saw, haunted me. More recently, the shooting at the school in Newtown, Connection, raised the same questions about violence, especially against innocent children.

Lower East Side Series
  LES #1
April Rain
charcoal
 
LES #2
Friends and Neighbors
charcoal
 
LES # 4
Saturday Swing
charcoal
 
 
  LES #3
Monday Morning
charcoal
 
LES #5
The Old Ukrainians 
charcoal
   

About the Lower East Side Series

For several years, a few friends and I shared a third-floor apartment on Second Avenue, in the Lower East Side of New York City. The neighborhood was constantly evolving. Originally settled by German and Eastern European immigrants, it was rich with traditions and foods from the old country, and stories of heroes like Emma Goldman.  The 50’s through 70’s brought the arrival of beatniks and hippies, and landmarks such as Fillmore East and the St. Mark’s Bookstore.  When I lived there, from 1976 – 1982, one could still find a relatively inexpensive apartment, which might be a 6th floor “walk-up” with a bathtub in the kitchen. Families and artists of all kinds, Puerto Ricans, Pakistanis, Asians, and others added to the older cultural mix.

Our front windows overlooked the intersection of 2nd Avenue and 5th Street. How many hours and mealtimes were spent sitting there and looking out as we talked! The Bowery, Chinatown, Little Italy, SoHo, and Washington Square were all in walking distance and the destinations of our favorite outings, especially with out of town visitors. However, one gal’s younger brother, from a very small town in Ohio, spent a few days with us, and was satisfied simply to look out the window at the activity in the street for most of his visit.

For a couple months I set my work table in front of one of those windows, with large sheets of paper, plus some charcoal sticks. I would draw for an hour now and then, or when some interesting street action or characters caught my eye. Working with no pre-arranged plan or layout, I just added and placed figures where they seemed to fit, and often caught the same person coming and then going, or tried to catch the flow of those walking in small groups, or the energy of certain times of day. Several of the “locals” appear in more than one of these drawings. For starters, look for the “Bowery Boys” with their jive hats, lively conversations, and bottles in brown paper bags. Who else can you find?