Kôan Boxes beginning as a palettes, 2014-15

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I have collected cigar boxes since my youth, using them to house the minutia of childhood “things,” which carried over to my adult life. I still collect cigar boxes, and certainly, “things.”


Most of the boxes, but not all, act as a repository for the minutia of my adult life: gallery announcements, drawings, advertisements, ideas and thoughts jotted down on scrapes of paper, articles, poems, photographs, lists, movie and event tickets… some are thematic, others quite random. I seal them so that only by destroying the box can one reveal the items concealed inside; they are time capsules without an “open” date. Often I will indicate on the back of the box a general reference as to what is inside and occasionally, although rarely, the items contained within the box will relate to the final outcome of the box.


Once filled, the boxes act as either palettes for the larger paintings or as a segmented “drop cloth,” lining the floor against the walls on which I paint. They catch paint from the process of applying, scraping, and re-applying paint to the canvases. I also use the boxes to clean excess paint from my brushes and knives, as a catch all for the paint that is scraped or drips from the large paintings. After a few years, a box eventually will make its way to the wall. I never know when or why – the decision is random and intuitive, not unlike the way I paint. A particular combination of colors may intrigue me –  an association at which I would never arrive consciously. Once on the wall, I sometimes work the boxes rather extensively, other times they need only a mark or two with paint, or I scrape paint off. They are a record of moments - made from marks that are intuitive, sometimes arbitrary, spontaneous and direct.


Lawrence Fodor 2010

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