“piece for adele”
Adele reached out to me about commissioning this work after seeing my “Red Pattern Study No. 1” piece in the Greater Des Moines Exhibited XXIV show at the Heritage Gallery in December of 2017.
When I first met her to discuss the commission, she brought me a big brown bag of fresh produce from her garden. She and her husband had long been collectors of local art, but had recently moved from their home in the city to a farmhouse in Madison County. She felt that much of the artwork they had was fit for more of an urban environment and she was wanting work that felt more rooted in the natural elements of the countryside.
“Red Pattern Study No. 1” was the first and largest work I had done using the pieces I sourced from old needlework and cross stitch patterns. The lessons learned from the undertaking of that work led to the entirety of my PIECE exhibit, and everything I learned from the fifteen pieces that made up that show was applied to this commission.
“the rhythm of the saints”
John first asked me about this commission when a few of us friends were spending the weekend at this old creamery that has been converted into an Airbnb rental in Fertile, Iowa. It’s a lush, beautiful property rooted in the natural beauty of the agriculture of the heartland. The place was a bit of a retreat for all of us that we would take advantage of when we had finished large projects and needed a break.
We had listened to a lot of Paul Simon at the studio space we shared in the Fitch building that year, wearing down two cassette copies of “The Rhythm of the Saints” in only a few months. John and I had talked about recording an entire cover album of it, if we ever had the time.
The album was written around a trip Simon took to South America. Much of the instrumentation is rooted in musical styles from that region, and the lyrics are lush with jungle imagery. It came to remind me a lot of those trips we’d take up to Fertile. So, when John asked me to create a collage for him that represented the album, I knew I wanted to capture the lush chaos of the jungle with the experiences we would have walking along the Winnebago River that runs through the middle of tiny little Fertile, IA.
“How (Can) Mankind (Can) Fail (for Moppy)”
Moppy commissioned this piece simply saying he wanted something that played around with concepts in sacred geometry. I found some old mathematics books at the Iowa State University surplus sale, but the illustrations were mostly of graphs or lines on an axis and not textural enough to be used for the basis of a collage.
I ended up finding most of the pieces I used for this from old Whole Earth Catalogues, books about the supernatural, and multiple copies of the same home repair guides, which allowed me to use the doubled-up images of human construction.
I loved how the human attempts to shape their surroundings wrapped around the otherwise geometric rigidity of the more natural and mathematical textures making up the rising shape of the piece overall.
The collage ended up taking on themes of repetition and cycles. The whole piece moves top to bottom like a spiral: a design that shows up constantly in geometry. In that regard, this was one of my first experiments into directing attention and flow with the placement of pieces, which became a vital characteristic of the work I did for my PIECE exhibit.