This image depicts a mural that I painted with Myriam Tapp on the back of an Octopus Car Wash on the side of an empty lot on Old Route 66 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. These images depict part of the lot, the mural on the back of the car wash, as well as architectural elements of the car wash building. The painting served as a backdrop for several performances, and the site was the final destination for High Desert Test Sites in 2013.
Landscapers was a project with the National Park Service at Peter Strauss Ranch in the Santa Monica Mountains of Los Angeles. The show was entitled Members Only, and my paintings of laborers were scattered around the property. These paintings of an often overlooked and almost invisible work force were made on shade screen attached to chain link fence and on red vinyl. The exhibition was temporary, up from May to September in 2017.
Mural for Kids
This mural was painted for an Independent School in New York City and was inspired by New York State’s Adirondack Park. The bottom half of the mural was painted with chalkboard paint, so that children could interact with and add to the painting.
Simone White is a poet.
The Permian Basin
This body of work looks at the oil and gas industry in the Permian Basin. Sitting a bit north of the Permian, is a ranch that my Great Grandfather pieced together for grazing his cattle. I became even more interested in the oil industry after reading a New Yorker article claiming that the Permian Basin was arguably, “the hottest oil and gas play in the world.” The oil boom that this part of the country experienced was due to the “fracking revolution,” which coincided with a loosening of regulations. These paintings were inspired by a trip to West Texas and Southeast New Mexico in the summer of 2018. They reflect my subjective experience of looking at a landscape and a region that I love. They attempt to tell a complicated story, one that both honors the place and the people, while revealing concerns and anxieties. In my New York studio, I laid large sheets of watercolor paper down on the floor and painted from above. Rather than depict the horizontality of the place, I layered and stacked images, attempting to show a sense of time going down deep like roots.
Several of these paintings were exhibited at the Sunview Luncheonette in 2019.
McDonalds / View from my studio in Midtown
KB Jones’s Currency Paintings
KB Jones works in the present – she’s a kind of productive opportunist, confronting the new offerings as they appear, not shrinking or losing time looking over her shoulder. She moves around a lot – she travels, she changes studios – and she paints on the fly as well; she has the chops. Even if she has a studio, KB sets up on the street, in the park, at the kitchen table, in front of the computer, and with a confident hand, works quickly without avoiding detail. The resulting freewheeling catalogue is kaleidoscopic, and astute. Recent paintings of small piles of cash, titled Currency, are prime examples. It’s a cliché to describe still life painting as revealing what’s hidden in plain sight, but in the case of these paintings, created and viewed against the chaos and devastation of pandemic and long overdue racial, political, and economic reckoning, it’s true.
In the painting shown here, the money appears as it would freshly pulled from a back pocket or wallet at the end of the day: it’s rumpled, and it’s not in great quantity – $132. I still get a lift, however, from that amount. It includes a $100 bill – I rarely carry that much, and the casualness of the arrangement makes me feel like I happened upon it. It promises a spree of minor indulgences. The reverie quickly crashes though: not only is cash harder to get and harder to use, much less enjoy, under pandemic precautions, the imagery on the bills registers. George Washington peers out from the rumpled paper slightly distorted but unequivocally steadfast, calm, conjuring the most noble and decent of the country’s inception. The emblems and flourishes, rendered with equal measure of care and speed, further remind of admirable ambition. The painting pulls these symbols, ever-present in the background of daily life, into the foreground, and brings into devastating relief the dire present. The dire present reframes the past as well though, laying bare the contradictions of the ‘noble’ inception: the barbaric injustices undergirding American institutions purporting equality and justice, and that continue in no less potent forms in the present. The painting entices and then, without pretense or accusation, holds the viewer accountable. The call to action is urgent. The past, hidden in plain sight, looks on.