A New Collaboration

I have known my friend Geo ever since we lived next door to each other in Evanston, Illinois in 2006. Though my adventures took me to Missouri and around the world in subsequent years, Geo made an effort to stay in contact. The man traveled to visit some of my shows, even appearing in Columbia, Missouri for an exhibition in 2009.

Geo surprised me back in 2009. We got Thai food and cocktails.

In more recent times we have taken to writing missives via email and text, sharing books and ideas. Geo has been a woodcarver for many years, and his work has been sought out all over the Chicagoland area since the 80s. I’ve appreciated the friendship Geo has given over the years, and see him as a kind of “future self mentor.” Imagine a version of yourself visiting from some alternative future who gives encouragement? That’s kind of what Geo is for me.

Portrait Demo Sketch (of Geo). Chalk pastel on paper, 24×18 inches, 2013. Created at Evanston Art Center where I gave a portrait workshop.

Through our chats and several visits, we have connected as artists and visual thinkers. Every once in a while Geo would send me small carvings and I started wondering what shared art-making might be for us. Eventually, it seemed natural to start formally collaborating on a group of carved paintings, three of which appear below.

Geo began these works by creating carvings based on some of my own WHENEVERwhen or Ensigns For Miyoko Ito series works. He owns several of them (in fact, Geo has purchased many of my paintings over the years) and was able to observe them closely. Inspired to bring some carved aesthetics to bear on those visual themes, Geo crafted some really interesting surfaces. One (the “Wedge Interpretation” piece above) he actually painted most of as well. I added chromatic exploration to each of the relief carvings, seeking to transform both Geo’s carved environment an my own formal structures.

I’m feeling excited – and thankful! – for this fresh collaboration. Here’s to many more shared works with Geo.

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