Tyler Alpern, Gallery 5
This painting celebrates the late Makiko Narumi.
At benefit home concert she electrified the room when at one point she performed an animated, flirtatious vocal improvisation using only one vowel that shifted through the gamut of emotions. A curious and enchanted cat kept interrupting much to the amusement of Makiko. Makiko had flashing eyes, and a captivating star quality that was also had a strong visual component. It was a night I'd never forget and I knew right then I would have to paint her. I memorized her gesturing with one hand and occasionally leaning on the arm of the couch for support with the other. Little did anyone know then that her posture in her pose hinted at the illness in her foot that would take life. The dress is similar to the lace collar and floral print she wore that magical night but with a nod to Ray Aghayan. The furniture arrangement are as they were at Betty Wiess's home, though the details have all been made up. Clarinetist Dick Waller who organized the event for the Aspen Music Festival is depicted as well. Both portraits were done from memory and I am pleased with the likenesses. When Makiko died, I finally saw a photo of her and only decided to sharpen her chin in the painting. In the background is the ever changing "ahhhh" of her playful vocalise.
I was sitting on the floor just to the right of the image and feel so lucky to have witnessed Makiko sing from such a close vantage point. There is even a recording made that same magical night floating around the internet, but alas not this song. Dick Waller 's sweater is actually inspired by a gift from my boyfriend at the time David Cohen. My aesthetic and love of pattern is very clear in this piece which was repainted and reimagined in 2019 mostly by eliminating aspects of artist Weiss's home and incorporating the text. Hunt down the original online if you are curious. The interlacing of all the blue and hot red brushstrokes give the painting and over all iridescent purple in person that digital reproduction can't capture.
My dad's comment on this painting means a lot to me, "I was there with you that night but no one enjoys your level of compassion, powers of observation and appreciation for interesting life experiences. Again, I want to grow up and be more Tyleresque."
Click on painting to enlarge.
No People Like Show People
Red Fish Tenderly
Like Gertrude and Alice
Portrait in Red
Fragile as a House of Cards
Another painting of the Maroon Bells at Aspen where I grew up. The magnificent massive mountians seem so permanent and their beauty awesome and sublime. Yet they was spoiled with the stroke of a pen in remote urban office, and other pristine Colorado peaks were leveled by short sighted state governers.
The landscape is painted on a collage of cards that collapse from stable rows as the image moves down. Not on ly a comment on the fragility of the natural environment, but also on our ability to recognize the value of and preserve the unspoiled beauty that surrounds us. In this sad case, the goverment has covered up this magnificent veiw with fake rocks and plastic outhouses that could have been placed nearby out ot the view plane instead of in the forground of this magnificent backdrop! What makes sense on paper in Washington, is an absurd travesty in application on the once glorious site.
Pyramid Peak and the Maroon Bells from Aspen Highlands in Colorado where I grew up. Almost this exact view was once used in a "Ski Utah" ad. This painting was a turning point for me, when I taught myself something about how to use organic pattern in unifying ways.
5 Trees, Looking North.
Just as star trails reveal the rotation of the Earth in the night sky, the day time sky is spinning too, as sensed perhaps but the rooted, stable trees. Jet trails crisscross in the sky above.
Can you guess which painting is underneath this? The sky echoes ther original image. If you can believe it, the formal inspiration for this piece is taken from Art Nouveau peacock motifs. I dig the stylized artifice of the natural world in Art Nouveau and pine needle clumps from my world substitute for the guady feathers. If you ever want to learn more about paint itself, let me tell you the story of the wrong pink...
Pardon Me Miss Garland...
Dishing about celebrities. Judy Garland, Jackie O, Maria Callas, Kathleen Battle, Truman Capote, Princess Margaret...
At the Far End
Another painting remembering the summer I was "capo" at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection working with Philip Rylands and Sharon Hecker. Adding to my collection - lying in dunes at the far end of the Lido in Venice. References to Casimiro, Davide, Marino, Rudolfo, Manuele and a few others. I remember them all in vivid details and the profound, formative influence that adventure had on my life going forward. So many stories, intense romances, yearning, discovery, exotic excussions, secrets, lessons and pain: my version of "Call Me by Your Name."
Discression was a must - at the time, the city had no gay bars, Venice was very closeted. My predecessor had been fired for being gay, gay ex-pats were sometimes kicked out of town. Lonely and feeling randy, one night I told myself that, "I've read Tennesse Williams and know how this all works." So I marched myself down to Piazza San Marco, and with my eyes wide open I saw a whole new world of cruising happening in front of everyone in the most public of spaces. It had always been going on but I had never noticed it before. What an education and adventure that summer was. So many stories. It does not matter if you understand the many references or meaning of the text, the content of the scene is obvious. The text eludes to my memories but really functions to evoke the myrial of experiences anyone has when they take extended travel abroad. Zanzare, if you have not guessed, is the Italian word for mosquitos. The z's and zanare are the buzz of tousands of those pests trapped in my room by the jealous girlfirend of my lover that forced me to flee and spend the night in cramped bathtub my last night in Venice. It would be 10 years later in Paris before I would see handsome Mr. di Crescenzo again.
An ardent fan plots Amelia Erhart's course over Cape Cod in order to catch a glimpse of her flyover.
For Casimiro. He knows what and why.