American Niche


June 28, 2014 by smithartonline

American Niche  Mixed Media 11 X 14 X 1.5 inches

American Niche
Mixed Media
11 X 14 X 1.5 inches

The niche form has always intrigued me but I have not employed it in my paintings often. There is a practical problem of maintaining the painting over time. Glazing over the opening is a good solution to keep the inset area clean and dust free, but this device also creates a break between the two planes in view. There is definitely a front wall area and something on the other side of the wall seen through the window. This is something I often do want, just not in this case.

I threw caution to the wind and made the small recess a part of the main surface…someone else will have to deal with dusting the picture. There is no glass covering the inset. (I did, however, design the part inside the niche to be removable, so, to the person in the future charged with the task of cleaning this piece, you’re welcome)

The work was pieced together from various bits of detritus in my scrap box…I am in my use it or get rid of it mode…it happens every decade or so. Every once in the while a picture like this one comes to me in a dream – already complete and ready to go – this really streamlines the design time. As fate would have it, all the materials were sitting in my scrap box (except for a 3 inch plastic pipe I found in the street, but more on this later).

One of my favorite photographer/artists is Jeffery Becom whose work has had an impact upon my own for well over thirty years after I bought a copy of his book Mediterranean Color. Both the coloring and architectural devices serve as inspiration. A newer source is Redstuffdan, a WordPress blogger in France. He continually provides me with elegant photos of French architecture and especially with doors…I thought I was the only one with an obsession with doors, now I know two of us.

I am not sure I will do too many more of these niche affairs. The top rounded area was created using a piece of 3-inch plumbing pipe. It seemed a perfect solution until I began cutting and sanding and it let loose some major toxic smells and I had to evacuate the area post haste. I may have cut off a few years from my life expectancy on this one. When Ken Burns decides to make a documentary about my life, I would rather there is not an epilog stating that I gave up my life for art…it sounds romantic I suppose, it’s just not part of my life plan at this time.

Blog End two

One thought on “American Niche

  1. […] is an experimental work in the use of the arc over the female figure. In an earlier post I mentioned my use of plumbing pipe to obtain the arc form: the down side is the negative physical […]

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