This summer, I made a connection that some of my color ideas are rooted in my early obsession with crayons and coloring, always boxes of them on hand, vibrant to murky, ones worn to stumps and others still pointy. I keep a coffee can of dusty Crayolas in my studio that I don’t use, I thought I was saving them for somebody.
But now I know why they’re here. After I made this new painting, I found crayons to match what I'd mixed. A color prescription. Closing my eyes, I smell wax on my hand.
24x24” acrylic on canvas.
Multiple oblong, round shapes, cut from scrap wood and painted in different bright colors, hang on a portion of chain-link fence that separates a community farm and garden from the road. The flat pieces, facing passersby, are visible from both sides. The installation’s title, Colorgarden, is a homophonic play on garden—an enclosure inside which vegetables and flowers are grown—and guarding, which is the role of the fence itself.
I cut the pieces freehand with only a general plan of the finished effect. Each one is slightly different and many are colored to match an element of what might be found in the garden. As the season changes, the colors become a snapshot of a summer palette through fall. As I worked, I felt that I was growing a sort of garden in my studio, colored rounds sprouting up from the floor.
The role that the Newburgh Urban Farm and Food Initiative plays in the community—for the people who work and volunteer here, and for the people who in turn have access to locally grown produce—makes for a natural response to the Terrain Biennial theme of how we change the environment we occupy, and how it changes us. Creating the farm within the city of Newburgh is an answer to how to adapt to our busy urban surroundings, just like the park it’s tucked into, bordered by a paved road that traverses many city blocks. It mirrors my answer to “why make art?” They are both challenging and both essential. You are nourished, you thrive, you learn, you find color and joy, and you are rejuvenated.