Series: Edward Boccia’s Studio
14″ x 20″ archival pigments on Hahnemühle Photo Rag, printed by the artist
I first saw Edward Boccia in action when I was an impressionable high school sophomore. He worked on the stage at the St. Louis Art Museum auditorium. On one side was a Cubist painting by Georges Braque, on the other a Baroque work by Bernardo Strozzi. In between sat a large blank canvas. On that one Ed recreated the Strozzi with bold strokes. The new painting began to look like the Cubist one, its planes and gestures delineated. Ed had taken us beyond surface and subject matter and exposed the inner workings of Strozzi’s composition. It was magic—and I was hooked.
In time Ed become my professor, and later my mentor and friend. For many years I went to his studio weekly, drawing from the model with a group of artists and teachers, many of us his former students.
Six years after his death in 2012 I returned to the studio to take photographs. I found many remnants of his work there: oils and brushes, canvases, props and early photos, the easel he inherited from Max Beckmann. And, especially, the drawings that fueled his work. There are the sketchbooks that served as his visual journals, as well as preliminary studies for his large paintings. He drew incessantly, from observation, memory and imagination. His process is evident: lines coalesce into substance, becoming the armature for paint and form. Even now, the place evokes his passion for painting, and his powerful drive to create.
Series: High Desert Skies
These landscapes were captured in the American Southwest, on the roads between Santa Fe and Taos and on the San Ildefonso Pueblo. This is a place where storms pop up unexpectedly, where the relationship between land and sky can be seen without obstruction, and where traces of human activity are light. The black and white medium captures only the essentials: light, atmosphere and the sculptural quality of the New Mexico landscape.
Series: Still Life
I want to see the extraordinary in the ordinary stuff of everyday life—to find the transcendent in the seemingly mundane. There is no agenda, except to rediscover the familiar in terms of form and color. Each artifact—tactile, weighty and “real”—is also an abstraction. Simple, identifiable objects find equilibrium in a larger geometry.
“We can travel this world and see nothing. To achieve understanding it is necessary not to see many things, but to look hard at what you do see.”
Car Lot, Macoupin county
The cars, once polished and seemingly impervious, have become as richly layered as an Abstract Expressionist painting. While no human beings appear, there is much evidence of human presence: threadbare pillows, worn knobs and cast-off belongings. These artifacts, and the cars, have taken on an ever more organic quality, transformed by use and the elements.