Salvages

We live in a disposable society. It’s easier to throw things out than to fix them. We even give it a name — we call it recycling.
Neil LaBute

Since 1960, the nation’s municipal waste stream has nearly tripled, reaching a reported peak of 369 million tons in 2002. That’s more stuff, per capita, than any other nation in the world, and 2.5 times the per capita rate of Oslo, Norway. The increase is due partly to increased population but mostly to the habits of average residents, who now throw out, says the EPA, 4.5 pounds of garbage per day…
Elizabeth Royte, Garbage Land, 2005
 
What sets wilderness apart in the modern day is not that it’s dangerous (it’s almost certainly safer than any town or road) or that it’s solitary (you can, so they say, be alone in a crowded room) or full of exotic animals (there are more at the zoo). It’s that five miles out in the woods you can’t buy anything.
Bill McKibben (The Age of Missing Information)
 

In part, the Salvage series is a painter’s nod to Jess’ (Collins) “Salvage” series of oil paintings. Similar to that important body of work, this series also centers on discarded, found and recycled art. Unlike that series, the work in this series is not limited to oil painting, but instead exclusively focuses upon reclaiming landscape imagery. In opposition to the sister series, Terra Reverentia—which conceptually requires the recreation of landscape paintings in oil and which allows for alterations of the original image—the Salvage series is dependent on outcast works and ironically disallows any attempt to alter the original. In this series, change is conceptual, and is only visible to the mind via the juxtapositions in each work—between landscape, selected objects and the title of each piece.

 

The central images of land that make up this series are often my own abandoned landscapes, or are otherwise land images that do not emanate from my studio. It matters not from whence the land images come; if abandoned and found, they are all in need of being usurped by the principles of Salvages. Though this series is still only composed of a few works, its intended scope aims at chronicling the short history of ecology.

 

Todd Bartel, June 2010

_________________________________________________________________________

Abulic Terrain: Affecting Currents

2000 

Constructed wood box, old paint-chipped wood unearthed after second bucket-loader scoop at local dump in search of paint-chipped wood of exact color as used; anonymous painting c. 1900, found in Maine antique shop; cobalt glass eyewash cup (purchased on route to deliver the artist’s boxed constructions requested for inclusion in the exhibition “Memory Boxes,” Lebanon, PA), casein on wood form, root (harvested at a dried up reservoir near Stamford, CT, the day before the artist’s partner , Talin Megherian’s water broke and four days before she went into labor with their son Noah), mustard seeds, India ink on snake skin given to the artist by Olivia Tow (a 2nd grade student at the Mead School, of Stamford, CT, who serendipitously brought a snake skin to school on the day the artist had requested one from Olivia’s science teacher), Museum Glass

23 3/8” x 24 1/4” x 5 1/2”

[photo credit:  Robert Puglisi]

 

_________________________________________________________________________



The Assumption: Mystery of Alignment I

1987 + 1999

Sealing  wax, ball bearings, book plate, and water color on Italian letter (c.1880), constructed wood box, discarded wood, glass and Italian playing cards (that fell from the sky—thrown by children—during a trip to a Sicilian antique store in search of Italian playing cards)

13 1/8” x 19 1/2” x 4”

[photo credit:  John Hill]


_________________________________________________________________________


The Assumption: Mystery of Alignment II

1987 + 2000

Book plate, acrylic, charcoal and water color on Italian letter (c.1880), gesso and water color over lead toy trees, tempera and casein on constructed wood box, discarded wood, museum glass, antique clay marbles, and Italian playing cards

13 1/8”  x 19 1/2” x 4”

[photo credit:  Robert Puglisi]


_________________________________________________________________________

Renaissance for Pedestrian Beauty [recto]

2001

Recto: Tempera and casein on constructed wood box with Masonite from the burned ruins of Paul Molinelli’s home in Vermont, hand ground paints and gold leaf on parchment—calf skin vellum taken from the area near the right side of the pelvis (parchment imagery adapted from Primo Maestro’s, La Porta Bronzea Di San Zeno, bronze door bas-relief, ”Sacrificio di Isacco,” Verona, Italy, painted between 1995 -2001), and blue glass eye wash cup; Verso: tempera and casein on constructed wood box, oil on linen—framed by embroidery hoops (image adapted from Giovanni di Paolo’s “Expulsion from Paradise”), gesso and watercolor on vines, and text reprinted from Alexander Baumgarten’s, “Aesthetica” in brass frame.

13 3/8” x 20 3/8” x 3 1/4”


Renaissance for Pedestrian Beauty [verso]

2001

_________________________________________________________________________


Empty Set

2002

Tempera and casein on constructed wood box; casein over roots and branches, unearthed from a dried-up reservoir, Stamford, CT; discarded landscape painting on ceramic tile (signed verso); and mustard seeds between layers of glass with French pot glass.

18 7/”8 x 22 3/8” x 4 1/2”


_________________________________________________________________________


Mythology of Stasis

2002

Tempera and casein on constructed wood box; fire ravaged Masonite from the burned ruins (2001) of Paul Molinelli’s home in Vermont; rusted nails hammered into glacier area of discarded landscape painting (signed front); mustard seeds between layers of glass; eye wash cup, and mercury in glass globe.

27 1/2 x 23 1/4 x 4 ½”


_________________________________________________________________________