Friday, May 27, 2016


Overhead Projector Transparency Image

As many of you know, the past few weeks have not been particularly happy ones. First, I had an unfortunate event that left me with damage to my left (primary) hand. The doctors assure me it will clear up in a few months, but in the meantime I have trouble with any work requiring fine motor skills. Shortly after this happened, Patsy Whitman, my dear friend and supporter of the arts went and died on May 16th with practically no warning. A show of my recent paintings of imaginary NYC rooftops, scheduled to open last Sunday at her PMW Gallery, had to be cancelled. However, since the work is already installed, her partner, Betsy, may open it to the public later this summer. I’ll keep you informed.

Overhead Projector Transparency Image
What’s an artist to do? I can’t use my primary hand very well. I can’t draw the way I used to, so I do what artists always do: figure out a way around it. Matisse did some of his best work, those glorious giant cutouts of his later years and his Chapel at Vence, when illness made normal drawing and painting almost impossible. The good news is, I can still type on the computer (slowly) and, best of all, for some inexplicable reason, I can use scissors, so I can still cut out silhouettes.

Overhead Projector Transparency Image
But lately, something interesting has begun to happen; I have no idea where it will take me, but I can’t wait to follow the thread. As some of you know, I have had the pleasure of having a wonderful country music band rehearse in a small shed on my property. When it gets dark, I go up to my studio, put on the overhead projector and do a ‘light show’ performance for them. They play, my “people” dance and everyone has a good time. But it turns out that’s only the beginning. When I overlap transparencies, unexpected moirĂ© * patterns appear and when I put fire-colored transparencies over my cutouts, they turn into scenes from Dante’s Inferno. Lately, I take transparencies of the old Yale & Towne factory complex in the South End of Stamford, a glorious ruin, and overlay some of my cut-out figures. A whole surrealist world appears. Who knows where it will all lead? Performance pieces?  Played to Wagner’s Gotterdammerung? Ferlinghetti’s poetry?

Overhead Projector Transparency Images
The moral of the story is: if you’re an artist, you can always figure out a way to be creative; I’m making lemonade.
I’ll let you know what happens next. Can’t wait to see where this is going.


Renee Kahn