Jacob Wrestles You Ain't The Only Bend The Fall Lilypad Bruised Lace Hand Pat Riding It Out Hold On Where To Now, St. Peter? Spilling Grip Finish Line Tattoo Underwater Out of this Marsupial Night Respite Never Mind Patina

the TORSOS

At the core of this series are 12 pieces created from ‘96-‘97 in Ecuador. I was renting an adobe house overlooking a section of El Valle de los Chillos. I thought I was going down to write, but the words didn’t come. The same thing happened to P.K. Page when she got to Brazil. That’s when she started to draw. (Her book Brazilian Journal is a magnificent account of the impact on creativity of an intense tropical culture.)


The torso images were based on photographs of models but I thought of them less as nudes than as portraits of emotional states. I was working in a medium I’ll call painterly collage where torn bits of paper (often old paintings and drawings) were made to mimic a brushstroke. There are layers and layers of paint, mostly glazes, on these. I’d puddle on the colour and wait a minute or so then wipe most of it off. The paint is absorbed more by the raw paper than on the collaged sections—that’s why there are those denser wedges of saturated colour. Each piece took about a month. I’d work on two at a time and when they were done I pinned them to the wall in the large and mostly empty main salon of the house. The German owner had bought the place from friends of mine. I never met her; we corresponded by mail or through my friend George who still runs Adam’s Rib, a BBQ restaurant in Quito. My rent was the salary of the woman who acted as caretaker and gardener—the word in Spanish is cuidadora. Sometimes I’d go to the door and Teresa, the cuidadora would be there with a bowl of soup or some empanadas. She was taking care of me, too.


Rain or shine, I’d walk in the hills at the end of every day. The sun setting in the mountains would bathe the Andean foothills in pink light. The countryside or campo had a lot to do with these pieces. My palette always became richer and more intense in Ecuador.

 

I would eventually decide to leave Ecuador but that period was one of intense creativity and focused production. I sold one of the collages to my friend and patron, Kathy Capello and showed the remainder in Toronto in 1997.

 

 

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