Saturday, June 13, 2015

Plein Air Appropriation - Revised artist statement

I have updated my artist statement:

Howard Skrill’s drawings of figurative public statuary in NYC and sometimes their absences, the Anna Pierrepont Series, explores the inconstancy of memory.

Howard rolls Whole Foods cart jammed with art supplies, a folding chair and a Bristol pad throughout NYC to document extant public monuments.

In 2014, the drawings were augmented with text that extends the project beyond the drawings themselves. Howard’s latest work, a pictorial monograph, Damnatio Memoriae, (the Damning of Memory), is a survey of the destruction or relocation of public monuments for political purposes that left their debris in the cemeteries, public plazas and museums of NYC.

The Anna Pierrepont Series, my drawings of public statuary in NYC, is plein air appropriation. Plein air drawings come into being through visual encounters with the constant changes of light and color in things ideally encountered out of doors. I roll a blue whole foods cart behind me jammed with a folding chair, pencils, oil and chalk pastels, oil sticks and a pad of paper through NYC. When I encounter a statue I wish to draw, I pull my chair out of the cart, unfold it, lay out my materials on the ground around me and struggle to represent the object emerging from the light and shadows of its surroundings onto a sheet of paper.

The drawings are appropriation because the subjects I invariably select are public monuments created by other artists. In 2014, I began to augment the drawings with pictorial essays that enable me extend the Anna Pierrepont Series beyond the plein air limitations of sight. The essays explore how the monuments come into being, their connection with their surroundings and their fate after installation. Links to some of these essays can be found on my blog

I have named the entire project after Anna Marie Pierrepont, a grand dame of 19th century Brooklyn interred in one of the most magnificent tombs in Greenwood Cemetery. I named the series after Anna, because I recognized in her strident efforts to maintain her memory, something of the hapless Ozymandias and his trunkless legs of stone in the vast desert of Shelley’s poem.

Catalyzed by the 2015 placement by renegade artists of a bust of Edward Snowdon in a park near my home and its subsequent removal by authorities and by the Charlie Hebdo murders, I started a book length pictorial monograph, Damnatio Memoriae (the Damning of Memory). Damnatio Memoriae is a survey of the deliberate destruction of public monuments for political reasons that has left its debris in the cemeteries, public plazas and museums of NYC.

I have also entered my work in the following slide registries, I commend these sites for their support of artists unfiltered by the demands of the market. They provide a great community service. As you look at my work in the registries, please explore the efforts of thousands of my colleagues []

Nutureart []

Bric []

White Columns []

I teach art lecture and studio practice at St, Francis College in Brooklyn Heights and Essex County College in Newark, NJ and live with my wife and one of my two adult sons.