Friday, December 9, 2011

Robert Rauschenberg Darryl Pottorf artist

Cari Amici (dear friends),

I have been sleeping in Robert Rauschenberg’s former bedroom on Captiva Island, Florida, since Sunday night. Even better: I wake to the art of Darryl Pottorf. I wrote about Darryl when I visited him at his solo exhibition titled Links at Brenau University in October 2010. I had met Darryl and his partner Mark in Florence, Italy, in June 2010 with my friends Johnny and Simon on Via Calimala where Johnny and I created large pastel and chalk street paintings. We all clicked right away and have been friends ever since.

I wanted to share with you Darryl’s art because in truth, I had never seen anything like it before and did not know what to make of it. Sometimes I just did not get it. But when I asked Mark if I had permission to write about how I have been “converted” and share images of the beach house that Simon and I are staying in now, Mark responded that it was little surprise that I would be drawn to Darryl’s work since Darryl had been classically trained. Ah, so yes, a possible connection! Darryl Pottorf is wonderful with composition and it is the mathematics of good design that draws me in, for starters. Many times in the past, I have made the point to many emerging artists that classical training teaches you not only nature’s proportions, which sit well with our brains, but also improves the communication between your eye, your brain, and your hands. You will gain the skills to create a mark you intended, not just happen into (all “happy accidents” aside). Then you can make any style of art you wish and communicate skillfully with a visual and tactile language.

Also, there is no substitute for seeing art in a livable space. There is an amazingly enticing large red, black, and brown composition featured on the main floor of Robert Rauschenberg’s former beach house (Bob died on May 12, 2008). One evening Darryl explained to me that this work is all about Darryl and Bob. These two artists were close friends and collaborators for over 25 years. Each part of the composition refers to some memory that Darryl shared with Bob. While I was drawn to the work as I entered the room, learning about the symbolism in the shapes and objects makes it all the more enchanting. For example, the clock on the upper left is set to the exact time that Robert Rauschenberg died. The huge black circle of lace behind the bicycle is from Venice – a personal memory of the two artists who appreciated the handiwork from Italy during their many visits there.
I do not know if I will ever attach large physical objects into my own created wall art as Darryl sometimes does, but I must say that living with this art is so much easier and joyful than I ever imagined. And as I discover more and more of Darryl’s art (we will be working in his studio today), I find myself enjoying the tactile qualities of his various textures and colors and movement.
I hope you enjoy this little peek into another world. I must get back to the beach now . . . what a vacation Darryl and Mark have made possible for me!