Friday, July 25, 2008


6/12. Mangosteen, oil on linen on panel, 7x5 in. SOLD

I do realize how annoying it can become to see blogs you've gotten familiar with sit untouched for a long time, so I'm going to tell myself to snap out of it and get back to posting. (I blame my inner recluse, again, and will try harder to keep the little bugger from climbing back into my head through the broken back window when it's dark. Once he's in there he's quite the tyrant.)

We noticed mangosteens at our Kroger store one day and I just had to get some. Over a decade ago, during my last visit to relatives in Indonesia, I tasted this out-of-this-world fruit for the first and only time, fresh off a tree. I think they grew on a tree but I may be remembering wrong, as the memory would become like a vision and the taste like a legend completely detached from the reality of the experience. It probably makes sense that, after all the excitement of finding them in an American supermarket then getting to cut one open for my wife to finally be able to taste these mysterious things that I had for years been unable to describe in words, I (and she) was a bit disappointed. Maybe it was because they hadn't come to room temperature, or that they were mangosteens from Thailand and maybe different from the ones I had in Indonesia. And it didn't help that it cost $10 for only four of them. Don't get me wrong, they are fantastically and exotically tasty (or tastily exotic?), and to my two-year-old daughter they will always be exotic because honestly I don't see us spending that kind of money again anytime soon on fruits that don't contain much actual edible fruit. But to my wife, because I had spoken of them so often so mythically, they were only just so-so. Wanting to understand better all this hubbub over mangosteens, she looked around on the Internet and landed on this amusing article. Thank god we didn't pay $22.95 for two.

So it was maybe because I had this disappointment fresh on my mind, or I was worried that it was too expensive a fruit to have sit unrefrigerated for too long, but I think I began the painting hurriedly and ended up laboring too much on it, getting caught up in the shell-like hardness of the skin and the shifting colors. Not that it doesn't capture the feel of a mangosteen, but I feel the painting was slightly tainted by my feelings toward the thing.

Perhaps it was fortunate that at about this time I did some more little pieces for
Cameron Gray (his new show at Robert Berman Gallery in Santa Monica opens tomorrow the 26th). It's interesting to see where my little tiles end up within a picture - in this piece from March (click "all sizes"), one of the more explicit ones forms the bright white of the girl's right eye. In all there are six tiles of mine - here's one detail. (Thanks to "C-Monster" for those Flickr photos.) Some of the recent ones, more innocent:
painting for cam i am painting for cam i am painting for cam i am
painting for cam i am painting for cam i am painting for cam i am
If I were teaching I might give students small challenges like these (working from reference photos), to help stay/get "fresh." I was amazed this time by how much quicker I was able to arrive at new color mixes, ones very different from what I'm normally used to. Serious "play" I guess.

1 comment:

Paul said...

Good to see you back, Dan.

Heck, hide if it feels right, looks like you've been busy enough.