Saturday, March 23, 2013

Sidney Lanier and the Black Drape

Sidney Lanier, 14.5 x 17", copr William Cook, 1982

I've decided to go back and revisit the Monuments Series from 1982.  And perhaps it might
be time to revisit the style and work like this for a while.  Thirty two years ago I came to
this style of drawing from the other direction.  I was working in abstraction with the
horizontal image I've been posting---and it's variations--and was eager to get some
representational imagery back into my work.  Much of the crazy scribbling and
scrubbing remains in these images--I was always invigorated by the
result--all that drama coming out of a simple pen point.

Many of the pieces from this era have never been seen--like this piece.  It's about  25 degrees
out with about two feet of snow.  I'm trudging down Charles Street next to the Johns
Hopkins Homewood campus, Baltimore.   I brought my trusty old SLR, and was scoping
out interesting imagery to work with.  This poor old soul trying to read a book while
getting covered up with snow set off all the alarms as artworthy.
 It had everything I'd hoped to find.

On another level, I hadn't a clue what I was looking at, other then this was Johns Hopkins
University, and someone thought enough of this guy to put this statue here.  This
 is Sidney Lanier, the poet, composer, musician, lawyer, educator Hopkins faculty
 and many etcetras.  What a guy.--of course he got a monument.  And he died at 39.
The sculptor is Hans Schuler.

I always felt like those nasty frat boys that lived in the dorm behind  showed great
disrespect by hanging that black drape out the window, and leaving the windows
open in such cold weather.  I always blamed them for spoiling my picture,
 so I never showed it.  My apologies.



Gatepost productions said...

Fantastic! Really love it, Bill ... but then I was bound to wasn't I? The complexity of simple pen & ink can be so rewarding ... and you certainly show that.

William Cook said...

Hello again John--Thanks for commenting. Yes, somehow I kind of knew you'd notice this piece. It may be of interest for you to also note that your little store entries reminded me of all this--to see them all lined up, all wonderfully consistent yet each with a life of it's own, is quite an accomplishment. They really are nice pieces--I love the possibilities of light in the architectural context. My pieces will explore the same only through sculptures. You'll see. Best.

hw (hallie) farber said...

So many lines--amazing work, and I like the confetti in the foreground. The black drape adds a bit of mystery.

William Cook said...

Hi Hallie--It does ad mystery--I really did think poorly of those nasty students for ruining my picture. But now that the drape is mysterious they might be forgivable. Great call! You've altered my consciousness. Now I'm rather enjoying the mystery.

John Brisson said...

Amazing...the piece is wonderful. I'm working on a new etching and your art is inspiring. Unfortunately, points out how much my drawing ability is lacking.

Very interesting man Sidney Lanier!!

RH Carpenter said...

Mark-making is definitely your thing and it shows where your work is abstracted or realistic. This is beautiful.

Pam Huggins said...

I am simply amazed at the level of detail you achieved in this drawing. It's easy to see that you knew something of perfection all those years ago.

I smiled at your comment about the frat boys. You've mellowed it seems.

Katherine van Schoonhoven said...

William, what an impressive art journey you've had! This drawing is beautiful -- thoughtful and frenzied all at once. How do you do that?

In 1982 I was playing in piano recitals and not even dreaming about art (except for music, and boy, did I have dreams!).

I admire your history with art and am excited to watch your present move into your future. K.