John Curtin - Untitled 5.5" x 7" - 2001 Acrylic and wax on paper
I met John Curtin in the back of a dump truck, shoveling dirt. As die-hard mountain bikers, we’d both volunteered to work on a Cook County Forest Preserve trail reconstruction project, and our piece of the action was to man the shovels. That was over 20 years ago, and while the origin of our friendship was founded in a mutual enthusiasm for mountain biking, it grew into a relationship far beyond any definition of the word “friends”. I’ve never stopped to examine why we became so close, we just did. Shared interests of course . . . art, music, film, politics, a zest for language, March Madness, The Tour de France, Vuelta a España, black coffee, dark beer, smooth bourbon, killer burritos, and yes mountain bikes. In the two plus decades we knew each other, and regardless of living eighteen hundred miles apart, we rarely went more than a week without deft and joyous hours long conversations, and all combined within, was the magic.
My John passed away last week, victim of an aggressive form of melanoma. I will miss him more than any words could express.
Today and tomorrow, Tuesday November 29th, and Wednesday, November 30th, are the two final day of the SRAM pART Project auction, in support of World Bicycle Relief. A quick review of the project, SRAM (a bicycle component manufacturer) sent a box of 100 bicycle parts to a select group of artists, who then utilized these parts to create sculptures. Its these sculptures that are now being auctioned off, with 100% of the funds going to support World Bicycle Relief (WBR) and the Power of Bicycles. In the words of WBR, “Compared to walking, bicycles improve access to education, healthcare and economic opportunity by increasing carrying capacity and accessible travel distance while decreasing the time it takes to commute to and from schools, clinics and markets.” The sculptures can be viewed here. On-line bids can be placed on specific sculptures here, or on my SRAM pART sculpture here. Donations of any amount can be made here ( a donation of $134 = one bike ) and all donations made by December 31st will be matched dollar for dollar by SRAM.
In keeping with this Tuesday’s bicycle theme, last week we stumbled upon this sculpture of a bike, articulated in granite, while hiking the Black Canyon Trail (BCT). The BCT is a multi-use trail system (hike, bike and equestrian) wandering through the Bradshaw Mountains, just north of Phoenix. The Bradshaw’s are both rugged and beautiful. Encompassing just under one thousand square miles, the Bradshaw Mountains rise from about nineteen hundred feet of elevation, where the Agua Fria River courses through its eastern flanks, to over seventy-nine hundred feet, at the summit of Mount Union, the Bradshaw’s tallest peak. (The Bradshaw Mountain range has eight named peaks, each being in excess of seventy-five hundred feet in elevation). This ecosystem supports an incredible diversity of plant and animal life, making it a pleasure to explore.
Done. As of today, the paintings are at Perimeter. Prior to the exhibition, the paintings are photographed, framed, then returned to the gallery for installation. The exhibition opens on November 18th and will run through the end of the year. The past couple of days have been hectic, putting the finishing touches on these two paintings, and prepping the canvasses for shipping, and now that the paintings are out of the studio, it’s a quiet feeling. Though a little odd, because these paintings have been a part of my daily life for well over a year, with a couple of canvasses having been in progress for the better part of three. But it’s not the end. I’ve a painting still in the studio that will or won’t make it to Chicago depending on how it develops, and the materials to stretch up another few canvasses. And so it goes on.
Speaking of going on, the details of the SRAM’s pART PROJECT auction and event have been announced. The on line auction begins November 20th and culminates with gala event, in Chicago, on November 30th, where the final moments of the auction will take place. All the auction proceeds will go to support World Bicycle Relief. For additional details, including auction updates, event info, viewing the artists pART sculptures and bios visit the SRAM pART PROJECT website. SRAM provided each artist a CD containing four images of their sculptures, originally taken for the project website. To see the “official” four views of my SRAM pART sculpture, click on the image to the right.
This week, in celebration of my tenth exhibition at Perimeter, a painting from the 1997 show. This exhibition was reviewed byArts and Antiques magazine.