I find myself surveying below, the most gorgeous flight I’ve ever been on. Following the sun over the tops of our glaciers, flyovers of so many small bodies of water. The phase God’s Country enters my thoughts again. Looking down, as we crawl south down the coast you think, will this be here in 10 years? Will the glimmering water evaporate or turn in to small cauldrons, bubbling? Will the sun, so gracefully reflecting off the tops of mountains and delicately highlighting water ripples, find itself by then a relentless scorch across every surface, rendering them all the same, one dry barren place? Such bittersweetness looking down at all this beauty.
The grid of humans, all their/ our / the footprints of civilization, seen from the air as straight urban lines and agricultural squares, will we be once again turned to dry earth? Will the wisp of clouds, floating past my window deteriorate into the atmosphere, along with our oxygen? And we too, would we be the the first to perish, so fragile but so responsible for the acceleration of our own demise? So unconcerned until the 11th hour rushed in our own fate.
I know I am writing this from above the landscape, sitting in a mode of transportation contributing to our peril. I am conflicted about being able to experience this grand delight in what I see below me. I want to capture this moment in time, and hold it still.
[Mount Rainier, Mount Adams, Mount Hood]
From the press release for the show at Shift Studio (Sept 2005)*
What started as an inside joke – a single doodle of a vest worn religiously by an art school professor – turned into a full blown, year long examination of the idealized hangovers of the art world, all represented simply through the singular image that started it all- the vest. Carolyn Zick’s new paintings, drawings and sculptures are an obsessive exploration of the romantic presence that remains attached to artistic heroes.
Some of the Bill related doodles and thought bubbles from my sketchbook:
*context of how long ago this was.
A good long time ago a spent a couple of years making drawings, paintings and sculptures as a method of softly poking fun at a professor I had a CWU (Country Western U) and then using the work as a device to think about the whole dynamic of the pupil/teacher relationship and how frequently that power structure can be incredibly imbalanced.
Bill (William Vance Dunning) wore the same orange vest every single day, was obsessed with the paintings of Mark Rothko (claimed he had a religious experience standing in front of one of them), made a point of discussing color theory frequently while making sports analogies out of the other side of his mouth and was said to light devotional candles to painter Willem de Kooning every night. He was our painting instructor but in all honestly not a single painting of his own can be called up in memory. Undoubtedly his worst offense was incessantly bumming cigarettes from his impoverished art students (CWU did not attract trust fund babies), even though it was acknowledged he had quit.
The series was a great way to explore color and pattern and cartoon-like figures. The resulting charcoal drawings are honestly the only ones I actually live with on my own walls after all this time.
I’ll be posting a few selections over the next few days.
All drawings below are charcoal on paper, 28″ x 20″.
Copyright ©carolyn zick 2023 | site work by chris cline