Friday, February 12, 2010

Speaking of Art

Various tornado paintings by Jeff Regensburger

If you've been following my blog posts, you know that I currently have a selection of paintings on display at the Dayton Visual Arts Center. These are on view along with the work of Michael Bashaw as part of "Something This Way Comes", a tornado themed exhibit held in conjunction with the Benjamin & Marian Schuster Performing Arts Center. In support of this exhibition, I was invited to give a gallery talk last night. This is something I enjoy as it provides a chance to address many of the underlying ideas behind the work. While it's obvious what the paintings are (tornadoes), the way they're arrived at isn't.

Tornado Installation (detail) by Michael Bashaw

As I've developed this body of work, I've worked through questions about photography (and it's role in painting), art history, American landscape painting, and the role of painting as a form of documentation. In my mind at least, the works are much more complicated than what you see. Since creating these works is a mostly solitary venture, I find it refreshing to share what goes into them with others (and sorry if I rambled too long...).

Tornado Installation by Michael Bashaw

I'll again thank the staff and friends at the DVAC. Jane, Janelle, Patrick and Ursula have proven to be knowledgeable, gracious, and professional. Michael Bashaw was a terrific gallery partner as well. His installation provided a counterpoint in scale that works well in the space.

I'll mention also that it was the idea of DVAC staff to hang many of my paintings "salon style" (that is, stacked on top of each other as seen in the top photo). While this was a display method that had never occurred to me, I'm very happy with the results.

The show runs through March 6th, so if you're in Dayton, please make a point to visit.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Jeff's Gentle Snow Story

I live on Summit in the neighborhood south of Hudson (SoHu). If you're not familiar, it's an older neighborhood with its share of petty crime and vandalism. When I got home yesterday evening I parked behind our house in what was already about 5 inches of snow. Like many of our neighbors, I'm left with a shabby concrete pad where the garage used to be (It turns out it's cheaper to simply demolish old garages than build new ones).

This morning, I went out back to clean off my car and clear out a path to the alley. Since it's likely to get much colder I figured I'd better do it early before all the slush and wet snow turned to ice. As I was shoveling noticed a young man walking up the alley in my direction. He looked to be about 13 or 14. When he got within conversational distance, he offered to help me finish the job for $4.00.

I told him, "Thanks, but I'm just about done."

As bad weather often brings out a sense of camaraderie that might not otherwise exist, I followed-up with a bit of chit-chat.

"You're probably doing pretty good today, aren't you?" I ventured.

"Yeah, I've got sixty bucks," he replied

I expressed what I thought was the appropriate amount of enthusiasm for his total when he interjected, "Well, actually I've only got $56.00 dollars. I want to go home with $60.00 though. That's why I said I'd help you for $4.00."

I offered that it was a snowy mess today and I was sure he'd make $4.00 somewhere. He agreed, and continued walking. I leaned on my shovel for an extra second, enjoying the break, when it occurred to me, "I need to encourage this!"

He was about 20 paces off when I remembered I still had $5.00 in my wallet. I shouted after him, "Hey Kid, wait a sec..."

He stopped and turned. I jogged up to him, pulled the $5.00 bill from my wallet and said, "Here. This is for doing something good. This is for not being out here breaking shit, stealing shit, and tagging shit. Thanks."

He was surprised and understandably caught a bit off guard. Perhaps anxious to show he was worthy of his pay, he assured me that tagging and stealing weren't his thing.

"Yeah, I imagine they're not," I said, "still...thanks."

He turned the corner, and I went back to shoveling; all the while imagining - or at least wildly hoping - that our modest exchange would stay with him, becoming a kind of parable that he might in turn share with others.