Images of Hamburg - 1991 to 1993
Statement in catologue in 1994 show in Hamburg at the Holeshule fur bildende Kunste- Raum335.
I spent the last two years in Hamburg. Before this I lived in New York where for the past nine years I had been painting and drawing a five block neighborhood in the South Bronx. For me the work was a comment on my own sense of place in this community which was that of outsider and witness. Moving to Hamburg I lived in Othmarschen. I knew I wasn't up to their standards- I could barley keep up with the recycling alone. Walking around the city I felt foreign and displaced. Oddly though, elegant older women wearing well cut tweeds and tyroleun hats would come up and ask me for directions. Of course, when I opened my mouth they would apologize in excellent English for having spoken to me in German. The Jewish Cemetery in Oldsdorf turned out to be the visual link to the city that I needed. Overgrown and seemingly forgotten, it shared these qualities and something else less definable with the South Bronx. I spent time sitting and drawing there.
A lot of the work that I did in Hamburg (in the Jewish Cemetery and other places) combines figurative images with various simple shapes. I hope in pairing these elements to add a new visual reference that is more interesting than either on its own. To my mind their is a wistful quality to some of the most beautiful places in the city. I don't know if this is because I saw them through the eyes of an outsider or not. Now that I'm back in the United States and where I can use my own language and get in a fight at the supermarket checkout counter any time I want, I find I miss Hamburg. I miss the kindness and seriousness of the people among other things but not, of course, the weather.