Yesterday afternoon I went to the Mullen Gallery at SUNY-Oneonta to see several of Makoto Fujimura’s Nihongan paintings and enjoyed the “Shadow” group show, of which they were a part. I went with Yolanda Sharpe, whose “Urban Fragments” one-woman show preceded “Shadow.” Yolanda is one of those people who is interested in a number of art forms; she is a wonderful soprano, and she often writes poetry to go with her paintings.
For the “reading” for today, I’m posting images of some of her encaustics from 2009, along with the poems that accompanied them in the show.
Of her 2009-2010 encaustics, she says, “I grew up in Detroit, Michigan, relocated to upstate New York, and yet continue to celebrate the vibrant, creative energy of that city. This current series is part of the continuum of this energy. My creative impetus is shaped by my formative years in Michigan, and by a desire to capture Detroit’s beauty in the midst of decay and re-ruralization.” Yolanda Sharpe holds an MFA from Wayne State and has had many solo and group shows. She also has received the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. Currently she is ending a long stint as chairman of the art department and will soon go to Russia on a Fullbright scholarship.
More Miles and Fat Times,
jamming to swirls, blurry, heavy metal and wax.
His tempos insist on porosity,
on time and space,
and move past fabrications
called walls to rule my mind
You are way cool, too cool by far
By paint, rhythm and blues,
Jaaaaaaazzaay (sing this if you want to).
I nod my head, shrug my shoulders,
pour halos and love that lava that bees make.
03 Miles Davis’ Fat Times (Part 4)
Drywall screen, framed by decisions,
Mood shifts, chroma and funky bee nuggets.
Fat Times you play infinity’s rim
rediscovered in every layer
Inside the Inverted U,
I step on sidewalks and cracks like rocks in riverbeds.
The blue edge is the city.
With chunks I swim, glide, and am frozen.
Crayola slabs are sewer grates
and I am transformed from the mundane
into a glorious letter that is both C and U.
Look under the L-Shape Foliage,
behind an old idea turned into new.
Spring is on Kirby Street,
and the city’s thin air and grass is green and cold.
Ropes hang from shadows locked in yellows, reds, nets, and roots. I cannot forget the urban tempo,
a syncopation and angular insistence against the sky.
Not even just for a while.
08 Broad Stroke [picture at top of post]
The jet stream is bold, white, fat, and flat.
It paints across the sky as it flies to God-knows-where,
and I go with it too.
I wish that crumbling bricks were bejeweled, or whole gems.
The Broad Stroke is a sea of billboards where paper is ripped,
and new ads are slapped on phone numbers, and faces.
They make promises ancient layers could not fulfill.
Sunflower, you are the sun I look at.
You bathe the spotted leaf with red, gold, and black showers. Round boxes catch your glow
before your cousin
sets her table on the horizon.
The act of painting is often like floating.
It is fabulous, uncomfortable, unknowing.
I paint adrift in questions.
Blue raft, let me know when to sit on both sides.
Let’s ride down the middle of the river
where whirls and eddies don’t stop.
Make us move, stay, and move again.
The diamond glistens in the grass,
and rainbows hover over blades,
green and sure of summer.
Pink is the color of love, I am told.
Say it is not winter!
No. I was fooled.
This is residue from the river at Belle Isle.
This is when I remember to squint before the shore of the other side of the island.
This is when I look at footprints from the river.
I choose colors for this memory of refreshment felt briefly,
when the muggy hot air dissolves into this one cool, cool, second.
They told me they liked it funky.
So, I obeyed and kept it that way.
Rose, you are turned upside down
from the time I first drew you
the year before.
Now, you are on a thin veneer
and fused into the funky groove of white and black,
next to the yellow fence and sky below.
Because your cousin is so much hotter, saucier too.
Her raft says she will race you, beat you,
with her blue and yellow boxes.
The white “L” comes from you
so that you can beat her instead.