Tyler

Technically accomplished, narrative painting with

They Call It, "Bella Notte."

I think this painting is all about sex without being graphic. The evening is not yet over.

Oil on canvas, 48' x 43"

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Isaac. Falling Series #2.

This painting was inspired by a black cat I know named Isaac who in this painting is fleeing down the stairs. The apple print on the skirt honors Sir Isaac Newton. The woman is having serious trouble with gravity. I love the motion of breaking beads and used a lot of expressive "painted space" as opposed to detail in this work.

Oil on canvas, 40" x 30"

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Rain

 

A woman carries a letter and umbrella through the pouring rain. The viewer feels a part of the scene due to the huge raindrops in the foreground. I made the raindrops closest to the viewer huge, up to seven inches long. By creating such large foreground elements, I placed the viewer right in the picture, in the rain, not merely looking at it from afar or thru a window. You would have to be very close to a falling raindrop for it to take up so much visual space.

 

42” x 48”

Giclee available too.

RainStiched

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Picnic with St. Sebastian.

 

For centuries St. Sebastian has been a homoerotic icon in the church. Somehow, Sebastian ended up looking a lot like me. I painted this as a parody of the outdated symbology of the senusal martyr yet turned out to be a revealing self portrait in ways I could not have even imagined at time.

 

Oil on Canvas 48" x 44"

The Grown-ups is one of my favorites. It recalls my childhood fascination of listening to and watching the adults at my parents’ parties. Thus, the girl is the only one you make eye contact with. The irregular perspective places you at the table, and a little drunk. No one liked the carrots, but the meat was a big hit judging from the bones. The hostess goes on and on as she pleases so I gave her a crown. The gentleman has heard her stories a few too many times.
 
Oil on Canvas 48" x 56"

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Peggy’s Fury is based on a quote from the outrageous art patron Peggy Guggenheim's autobiography. Notoriously promiscuous, she wrote, "I am so furious at all the men who, while they were sleeping with me, were only thinking of sleeping with the other men I had been with." I thought of all the injustices in this world, what a silly thing to waste one's fury on!

Peggy is on her back, a position she well knows. It is the same pose found in a Barbasol ad opposite Life Magazine's famous article about Jackson Pollock that she is conpiculously absent from even though her sponsorship freed him to paint. By duplicating the pose, I put her on the page in Life she should have been on.

The prone Peggy caresses the face of her gondolier while he is thinking of another guy. Even her bird is thinking of another bird (her husband Max Ernst always painted himself as a bird and yes, left Peggy for another woman.) One of her many lap dogs (that she is buried along side) is dreaming of a bone as food is more important to a dog than sex. Peggy is holding the odd shaped pipe like removable erection from Marino Marini’s Sculpture Angel of the City that graces her Grand Canal terrace. The nuns used to float by her house every Wednesday and Peggy would unscrew the erect phallus so as not to offend them. However, I wonder if nuns would be more offended by a man with a vagina than a man with an erection?

Anyway, as much as it is a painting about Peggy, I really think of it as a painting about me and my summer working in Venice at her museum and the adventures I had there.

60" x 50"

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This painting celebrates the late Makiko Narumi who I saw perform only once at a home concert organized by Dick Waller for the Aspen Music Festival around 2000. She sang a number of peices and performed a flirtatious vocal improvisation using only one vowel that shifted through the gamut of emotions. Betty Wiess’s cat kept interupting much to the amusement of Makiko. She wore a dark floral print with a lace collar, had an emormous head and flashing eyes, capitvating star quality that was also very visual. I knew right then I would have to paint her. I memorized her gesturing with one hand and occassionally leaning on the arm of the couch for support with the other. The architecture and furniture arrangement are as they were at Betty’s, though the details have all been made up by me. Dick Waller who played and taught clarinet for years at the Festival is depicted as well. Both portraits were done from memory and I am pleased with the likenesses. When Makiko died of cancer in 2002, I finally saw a photo of her and only decided to sharpen her chin in the painting. In the background is a painting of Aspen Mountian with the old Herbert Bayer music tent in its foreground. I was sitting on the floor just to the right of the glass coffee table and feel so lucky to have witnessed, not just heard, Makiko's powerful performance from such a close vantage point.

Bruz and Casey Entertain

A portrait of Bruz Fletcher. I wrote a book based on my research into this fascinating character. Also depicted is his partner the multi-talented artist Casey Roberts. It is circa 1929 and the brillant pair are beginning their intense and wild but tragically short life together.

Theirs is dramatic and complicated story of lost but fabulous riches, 3 suicides, fantastic success, devistating fires, sensational trials, madcap partites, movie stars, car crashes, fascinating friends, pet monkeys , secret lives, double entendres, compelling art, silly novels and wonderful witty songs.

Bruz is holding the sheet music of his first song that took me years to find.

Oil on Canvas 30" x 40"

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The Two Louisa Fletchers in the Land of Beginning Again

Oil on Canvas 43" x 48".

Both women in the portrait above share the same name: Louisa Fletcher. It is a name that generations of other Fletcher women also bore. Toward the end of the dock the elder Louisa is dropping her "shabby old coat" - a metaphor of her past grief expressed in her most famous poem written during her divorce from Booth Tarkington:

"I wish that there were some wonderful place
Called the Land of Beginning Again,
Where all our mistakes, and all our heartaches,
And all of our poor selfish griefs
Could be dropped like a shabby old coat at the door,
And never be put on again."

She is seeking a new beginning as is her runaway niece seen in the foreground. The aunt has her back to the viewer displaying her signature long Victorian braid and dropping the shabby old coat. The landscape is otherworldly as there is no such place as the Land of Beginning Again. You cannot escape your past and remain yourself. The younger Louisa has just been expelled from a second school. The two women are back to back and in contrast to the feminine pose of her aunt, this Bohemian Louisa is committing the then daring and shocking act of chopping off her hair and disguising herself as a man. It is 1920, she is about to steal a boat and ride the river to cast off the legacy of her name and family to live under the alias of Willie Sullivan. Like her mother and grandmother before her and her brother after, she will soon die young. The building clouds symbolize the change and turbulence everyone faces when choosing a new course for their life to follow. The painting also quotes contemporary master Peter Hocking.

The technical challenge in this piece was in the unusual palette choice and in creating abstract painted space to substitute for detail. My whole style goes against the contemporary trend of narrative content tied to painterly realism. One can be technically accomplished without turning to realism.

Bruz Fletcher: Camped, Tramped & A Riotous Vamp is the title of my Bruz Fletcher biography available only from me. Email for details.