The title Are You a Half & Half came from a direct quote. Yes, I was actually asked this. I was in the laundry room of our building, chatting with a neighbour when she turned to me and asked “are you a half and half?” I was flabbergasted and confused. All I could think of was “what, like the milk?” In her defense there was no tone of judgment or prejudice, just an oddly worded question. I still find this one of the funniest things I’ve ever been asked and gave it the honor of titling four pieces. I’m sure there will be more half and halfs in the future.
The first incarnation of Are You a Half & Half was the final two pieces of encaustic my flesh study paintings. They made for a satisfying end to the series as they referred back to one of my early wax studies. For the project I had committed myself to six 12 x 12 inch panels and two larger 16 x 16 pieces, however after extensive research and studies for the series I felt I had exhausted the subject and was ready to move on. For the two final panels I went back to one of my early studies, a tonal self-portrait, one in flesh tones, the other in black and white. In may ways Are You a Half & Half II is my tribute to Malovich’s black square. I had reduced the elements down as much as possible and I tend to view this piece as my last painting. Although I still paint my approach and attachment to painting have changed drastically. Are You a Half & Half II it is also a little inside joke to myself, they all are.
It is also fitting that the next materialization of Are you a Half & Half came in the form of a textile piece. This hook rug was the first textile art piece I completed and it was after the flesh series that I turned my focus from paint to fiber.
Below are links to information on Kazimir Malevich. One of my favorite parts of studying Modern Art was reading the various manifestos. Rarely do I agree with them but there is something very appealing about their self-righteous certainty.
“The Black Square of Kazimir Malevich is one of the most famous creations of Russian art in the last century. The first Black Square was painted in 1915 to become the turning point in the development of Russian avant-garde.”
Russian Paintings .net
“The black square on the white field was the first form in which nonobjective feeling came to be expressed. The square = feeling, the white field = the void beyond this feeling.”