The exciting images on vintage postcards first attracted my attention to Luna Park, Coney Island. A confusion of forms, circles, linear zigzags, minuets, domes, and colors caught my attention. They were intoxicating, even disorienting. (See below)
The Luna Park shapes were reminiscent of a series of artwork I had worked on previously that were centered on the power of Hope. In the earlier work, I drew, as a motif, circles inside of circles. Their unending turning and spinning served as representations of timelessness. I cast the circles as the base of a seesaw on which the human experience, with all its obstacles, was balanced against the power of Hope.
I was also attracted to Luna Park because “Luna” was my mother’s Spanish name, and her freewheeling qualities became the psychological impetus for this new work. She was a woman with a loud laugh who loved parties and dancing. I thought I would use the Luna Park theme to try to capture her wild, topsy-turvy spirit.
As a strategy, I decided to throw the images off-balance compositionally. This reflects my idea that fun is a disruption of the expected. I made my forms and figures swirl in all directions, as words turn into shapes, colors exceed their naturalistic boundaries and collide with other colors, and the scale of things is thrown out of kilter. As these pictures took form, it felt as if I, myself, was intoxicated.
The series began with large pen & ink drawings, then monoprints, wax crayon drawings, and finally paintings. (See below.) As I moved from medium to medium, the work grew increasingly abstract. The rhythms of the lines, shapes, and colors took over, blending and colliding into a cacophony of visual noise and energy.
Then on October 27, 2016, while I was still immersed in the series, my mother died. She was ninety-nine, and in very poor health. Suddenly, the series changed. The amusement park turned into a statement of the joyous rhythms of life and the eternity of death. The first work in this vein was Luna’s Last Ride. The swirls take us through the vicissitudes of existence, while the repeating circles prepare us for the timeless transformations of eternity.
I have always tried to link my art to existential questions. In this way I hoped to give my work an enduring quality. I reasoned that the earliest cave art, images of bison, hands, and figures were magical incantations meant to express a modicum of control over our existential powerlessness. They were not pretty decorations.
In my humble way, I have tried to express the riddle of the human condition, a quandary that is unchanging despite material progress and civilization.