30″x80″; acrylic paint, spray paint, print transfer, and collage on reclaimed door; 2007
I have long enjoyed with the patina left by aging posters and bulletins and graffiti that accumulates on walls in a city. In 2007, my partners and I bought a duplex in downtown Montreal that needed serious renovation. The contractor removed all of the doors. I thought they would make good surfaces for paintings. I coated the doors in acrylic paint and pressed old newspapers into the wet paint to transfer the image. Sometimes, I would let the paper dry in the paint and peel it off to give the appearance of aged walls. I finished the paintings by adding stencils in spray paint. The three chickens are a reference to my partners and I.
Hold Me was used in the backdrop of a photo shoot, the images from which became the series “Torso” and “Hold Me” which were part of a group exhibition at Schoolhouse Gallery in Provincetown, MA.
The painting was exhibited at Living/Learning Gallery at the University of Vermont, September 5th to October 4th, 2013, as part of an Alumni Exhibition. Other artists included Lindsey Epstein, Ed Grant, Jennifer Kahn, Peter Katis, James Kochalka, Heidy Kunkel, Derrick McNab, Sarah Rutherford, Sarah Ryan, Steven Shattuck, David Sullivan, and Nathaniel Udell. The exhibition was in celebration of Living & Learning Center’s 40th anniversary.
I was asked to provide a statement of my memories of living in the dorm.
On Living at the Living/Learning Center
One of my best memories from college is lying on the floor with a dozen other people in Fireplace Lounge at 3AM. Someone had gotten a copy of Madonna’s Sex book, a massive coffee-table book of erotic photographs. We flipped through the pages, silently. Everyone was afraid to say the wrong thing. I met Sean that night, a guy I crushed on for the rest of my college years. He broke the silence, “Well, this is interesting.”
I chose to live in Living/Learning because doing so meant I had access to a kitchen. I finished high school a semester early and spent the winter and summer of 1992 living in a farmhouse on a dirt road surrounded by fields in Whiting, Vermont. I learned to bake bread using a wood stove, grew asparagus in the garden, and picked strawberries that were growing wild in an abandoned patch left behind by the previous owner. I was, what we called in the early 90s, “crunchy.” I liked the life I built for myself there. Excited to start university, I didn’t like the idea of not being able to cook my own food. Living/Learning had kitchens.
I chose to live in the French dorm because my mother was born in France and we spoke a little French in the house growing up and I thought I should improve my French. We never really spoke French in the French dorm. My roommate first semester was a boy from Paris whose parents sent him to university in the States to avoid compulsory military service. He was awkward. I was weird. We really didn’t get along and by Spring semester I had moved into the single next door. I stapled Christmas tree lights to the ceiling. I burnt a lot of incense. I magically aced Bio 101 in spite of loading up my CUPPS cup with screwdrivers before the 8AM lecture.
Where the French dorm was something of a bust, Living/Learning was great. I cooked my own meals nearly every day. On Sundays, I played Dungeons & Dragons with a group of from the Theatre dorm. I joined the pottery co-op and made a bowl that I still use today to roast garlic. I painted as much as one could given the rigors of first year studies and the cramped nature of dorm rooms. Still, I made art and made a mess of my suite’s shared bathroom sink.
At Living/Learning, I tested by ability to live anywhere and be the person I wanted to be. I ate the food I wanted. I made art. I found people, a community, to connect with. That night in Fireplace Lounge sums up my Living/Learning experience: A group of strangers, thrown together, and confronting something that is as threatening as it is enticing. From that confrontation, we evolve.