Distortion Continued

With the first two large scale paintings of the year I tried something a little different. After experimenting with a new composition on paper, I have translated that idea to canvas by mixing and applying a tinted gesso. This allowed me to create the desired idea by not having to cover the entire canvas.

Distortion14,2014,67x75inDistortion 14, 2014, acrylic on canvas, 67″ x 75″

My studio mate José commented on this work. He said that the new canvases really looked like paint whereas the previous pieces looked more like water color-yes! I do like the new heaviness of the paint application which is balanced by a lighter composition. These are simple ideas but sometimes getting to that simplicity takes a few years. In this case it happens to be the 14th painting in the series!

Distortion15,201447.5x64.25inDistortion 15, 2014, acrylic on canvas, 47 1/2″ x 64 1/4″

I was asked to participate in a project called Pinceladas Colectivas organized by Valencian artist Miguel Angel Arranda. He is actually inviting every artist in Valencia to come up with how they would interpret embellishing an 11 inch high wooden human figure.


My figure is actually about 15 layers of cutout canvas. Each layer is a different painting but the top layer is really all that will be seen by the viewer as well as the profile of the depth. My handy studio mate, José, helped me drill a hole through the top and secure the layers with a nut and bolt.


Here we are in Miguel’s (left) studio in front of the wall he has installed with the other participants. I’m in the middle with José on the right.

My grandmother’s exhibition of Coco Chanel portraits, clothes, and memorabilia came to a close this month in Milan. In an email from Matteo Augello, assistant to the curator at the London College of Fashion and the man responsible for this venue, he reports the good news:

Palazzo Morando is very pleased. The director said it has been a great exhibition, well received and possibly one of the most visited, especially giving the ‘hidden’ entrance. In the period from 25/12 to 6/01 more than 4,000 people visited the exhibition.

I have the comments book with me, very few bad comments, less than ten, so it’s great! A woman wrote that she came from Vienna especially for the exhibition!

MilanCrewThe team: from left, Ben Wyman, Jeffie Pike Durham, Amy De la Haye, Matteo Augello

What I loved about the observations is that people wanted to see more! Here are a few of my favorite comments (Italian entries translated by Matteo) left by visitors:

This is not an exhibition, this is a bijoux! Well done!

A girl should be two things: classy and fabulous. Coco and Marion were both.

We entered in a magic atmosphere, we have breathed Coco…so charming!

It was very touching to relive the collaboration between these two wonderful women through the images and the paintings of a life lived to the fullest by both of them.

BigHeadMilanHere I am on the left with my mother, Jeffie, in the middle and Amy De la Haye on the right

Now the exhibit will leave Europe make its way to the next venue in the United States. It is hard to imagine any one person writing a negative comment about the show as it was the love of the work that led to the London and Milan exhibitions in the first place. These curators and devoted crew had no financial incentive to work on my grandmother’s exhibition. It was out of the excitement for the work and the amazing story they all believed needed to be told.

I remember someone writing “total crap” in an exhibition book the year after I graduated from RISD and was going through my Louise Fishman phase. Maybe mine was crap but Cuckoo’s work is far from it. And the beautiful paintings along with the history of mutual admiration between two artists, is a lovely story to tell. I’d like to meet those ten people who wrote negative comments and punch them in the nose.

This month’s music: as cool as he was in the 80’s-Gary Numan

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