March 17, 2005
SANDY GARNETT IN GROUP SHOW AT 583
Press Release and Artist Statement Press Release
Sandy Garnett will be displaying his paintings in a group show that includes Lynda Carrol and Elizabeth Hiltz. The show will take place at 583 Pacific Street Gallery run by Lee Milazzo, who also owns Poster Conservation out of this renovated factory building.
My portion of this group show is dedicated to the memory of James Lebron. Mr. Lebron made thousands of stretchers for the best in the business for over fifty years. He was one of the coolest old men I knew, a World War II cutout, a short, solid man with white hair and a feathered cap, horn-rimmed glasses and a firm handshake. He would answer the phone and say, "The famous Sandy Garnett, I can't believe he is calling me... what can I do for you today, Sandy?". I am not famous, and in fact James never saw my paintings, but he always made me feel special in a brutal art world and helped me build my studio to a new level of professionalism. My latest and largest commission entitled 'The Bathers', two seven foot square canvases that I delivered to a collector last month, are stretched on the last two stretchers James made for me. I drove to Queens and he helped me put them on my roof rack, which is the last time we shook hands.
"I'm sorry, James passed away," the unknown voice said when I called for him earlier this week. I hung up and cried. My art world is an exciting yet solitary place, and people like James understand the life of a painter and he made my life better when he was in it. I only have one stretcher left made by the hands of James Lebron and I'll never paint on it.
This show is for you, James.
I learned to sculpt fingerprints after painting them for years and I have been working on a way to paint and sculpt the figure in an original fashion, which is a challenge after a century in which the figure was deconstructed out of art theory for a spell. In this era of Reconstruction the figure is being conspicuously argued back into the language of art after a century of neglect, but the figure’s reintroduction demands a fresh take. I find wood turning a unique way to see the figure again, which mirrors my stubborn resolve to three-dimensionalize fingerprint portraits in order to make them more ‘bust-like’. Symmetry is a powerful force and makes these two bodies of work ring together.