Thursday, October 20, 2011

Bill Gusky in Crop Circle!


The Saint of Suburbia- Bill Gusky
I think Bill Gusky's, (a multi- talented, multi-media artist, and author), words speak more clearly to the motivating spirit instigating this project than I can express,so I gladly hand the keyboard over to him! Thanks Bill!

My take on Crop Circles -- Bill Gusky

My family moved to Watertown well after regulations and costs and a host of other factors had begun to do in the local farmers. It was my distinct pleasure to experience these rural spaces as a teen-ager for hours at a time, as the sometimes tacit guest of farmers who had little reason to be so generous.

Drink in a New Century- Bill Gusky
 Henry Church very graciously allowed me to roam his fields as I learned to make art from the landscape. His children Henry and Maria were also very accommodating. I recall watching Maria dive into the partly frozen pond one late-winter afternoon. I spent hours drawing the buildings and animals, sitting in the shack down by the pond watching the sun move window light across the old wood floor. I remember the amazing smell that lifted off the wild plants when the sun hit them in late October.


I recall a first snow, fat white tufts that made the huge volume of air over the fields visible. I recall a watercolor painted at 1 a.m. in early November, steam lifting off the pond in full moonlight. The washes kept freezing into crystalline patterns and I had to breathe on them to get them to settle into the paper. I learned a lot about drawing and painting on that farm. I owe the Churches a lot for that.

Peter Plungis spoke to me at length when he found me sitting outside his house one evening, drawing an outbuilding the open door of which revealed a large tool with a long bent wood handle. His hands were big as frying pans and they swallowed mine up when he shook it. I courted my wife out on the other side of his property, in winter wheat grown tall and heather green, her pink sun dress echoing the flecks of cloud in the peach-colored twilight sky. You get a few perfect visions in life that you want never to let go of; for me that's one.

Feed the Beast- Bill Gusky
 Further down route 63 I sometimes diverted onto a dirt road that coursed up a tall hill between corn fields, studying the great murders of crows that congregated after the harvest. I was amazed by their social structure, the way they'd post sentinels who always announced my entry into their boundary, the way one crow would make a distinct call and pause, waiting until another made the exact same call a few moments later. The blue jay they'd slaughtered for whatever reason, laying in the road, the back of its head pecked out.

I became lost for a time after my first year of college. Almost as a reflection of that I began walking out among the farms late at night. I usually walked down Linkfield Road past Gustafson's farm, where the road seems to ride the crest of a hill and the apple trees plunge to either side, into rolling waves of land. A giant tree, maybe an elm, had died some years back, all its limbs had been hacked off and this massive peeling trunk seemed to stand guard outside the always-immaculate white buildings. Linkfield wound around into Basset, and with no street lights and no flashlight it was often pitch black, with a pale sifting of starlight or the merest hint of  a moon that sometimes rose as I walked. Someone owned fields down that way as Basset turned toward Northfield Road, and I still don't know whose fields they were. But one night in May, probably 2 a.m., a full moon gleamed on long silver grass that blew in the waves of unseasonably warm breezes. I crossed the barbed wire and flopped down in that grass, becoming one with that perfect place and time.

Headlock-Chumley-Startled Stewardess-Orgasmic Cat-Bill Gusky
 So the farms around here have affected me greatly. These experiences are built into who I am, even if I don't generally paint landscapes anymore. My painting for Crop Circles, Just a Local Sheep, is just a goofy celebration of the growing popular realization that local farms and farming are very valuable resources. It's exciting to think that we may be teetering on the cusp of an American rebirth in which small farms find new life. Imagine kids today in greater numbers than since the 1950's, being allowed again to live out full lives and careers in a tight relationship with the land, with crops and animals. It's a sweet vision.
-Bill Gusky

Bill Gusky-Digital Stereo-Scopic Image
  Image Left
The Inertia Garden (Meditation Availed Deeper Insights, image 9 of 21) -- 2011 -- right-side image of digital stereoscopic pair-Bill Gusky

Bill Gusky's Statement
My work brings together visual data from a variety of cultural sources: old TV cartoons, lottery tickets, internet memes, old candy wrappers, packaging, family photographs, decorative patches and print ads, to name just a few.

I paint elements from these disparate sources, as well as original elements, using a range of styles, from expressionistic to hard-edge, abstract to realistic, or in imitation of a specific industrial arts, graphic arts or international style.

The result of all this is that each of my paintings is a kind of knot in a massive multicultural multi-temporal tapestry. My process enacts the hyper-connectedness of this era in which everyone is a cultural processor. We're forced by circumstance to gather from the elements that constantly stream in from around the world, to break them down and use them to build memories and lives and art and, to the degree that it's possible, a useful understanding of our place in the world.
To see more of Bill's work go to  www.billgusky.com

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