Friday, May 04, 2012

Jay DeFeo, working in an apartment on Fillmore Street in San Francisco, painted "The Rose" from 1958 to 1966.  Its current owner, the Whitney Museum, lists it as "oil on canvas with wood and mica, 128 1/4 x 92 1/4 inches"

When she and her husband, Wally Hedrick, also an artist, moved out of that apartment because the rent was multiplied by five, the painting weighed over a ton.

She was building the groundwater, as artists often do.  That's one thing she was doing.

Several artists lived in the building where she and Hedrick lived.  Other artists lived nearby in the Fillmore neighborhood.

Her studio was as artists' place to hang out.  The painting over its years of creation looked many ways that we can't see now if we see it at the Whitney.  Those ways were seen by artists as part of their daily life and daily dream.

So the now invisible looks of "The Rose" became part of what many different people made art from.

Which can have unimagined influence, maybe making good things happen in unknown ways.  This kind of work can be important in ways the artists involved never know.  There is good stuff outside shared reality that wants in, and an artist watching "The Rose" grow might be one way in.

--facts from  the book "Looking for Bruce Conner" (he was a neighbor) by Kevin Hatch.  Thoughts on groundwater mine. Bruce Conner made a film, "The White Rose" about the artwork being moved out of the apartment.  It ends with DeFeo sitting in front of the window that couldn't be seen all the years she was working on the painting that was leaned against it.