Stories from the Studio


Perhaps we, humans, could finally agree on something simple?... there is what we want – and then, there is what we NEED.


Our unspoken, subterranean life is often way richer than we know. It heeds no division of reality into past or future. It is present even if we seem absent, awake in our dreamless sleep, enthused in our stupor, sharp in our oblivion, and prescient when we are lost… . This is a story about things we do not know that we know… .


I love my studio! squeezed in smack in the middle of a 5-story former factory building that's filled with artist studios and diffuse creative energy. My studio is the only place where I know where everything is. I was thus doubly surprised the other week to see something out of place, by the corner, where stacks of finished paintings are stored. Green paint has seeped through the ceiling from an artist's studio above!.. and by some miracle, ended up on the face of only ONE painting (and a frame of another) -- it could have done way more damage, but there it was... long bright green drips through a rather beautiful and delicately balanced painting, unique and irreplaceable... .


I was so hungry for getting back to my studio and painting, after a longer absence, that I did not even have time to get truly upset... and perhaps the very channeled title of the injured painting, God Shall Wipe All Tears, was itself a gift, granting all present a deeper calm amidst the potential gale. Thus, I reflected on the fact that the new surreptitiously introduced green is rather close in tone to the abundant greens in the upper part of my painting, and that the most noticeably altered white area is made with a material that could potentially be scraped off and reapplied..? With this state of induced calm wrapping around me, I decided to try to restore my painting... .


I used mechanical means to scrape, and hand tools to partially sand, and have cautiously repainted parts of it to try to recapture the former effect. To complete this unexpected restoration job, I ended up needing a certain tone of brown, to remake a spontaneous-looking discontinuous line of varied width... . As it so happens, a few weeks before I had ordered online some oil paint "pens" -- something I have never used but got intrigued by -- in 4 unusual, almost random colors. I had just received my order a week or so before. The pens were on the studio table, waiting for me to try them out. And wouldn't you know -- one of these colors was extremely close to the exact color I needed here -- and it being a pen shape, it was perfect to re-draw that line!..


So now that the restoration is complete, and happily circling over to the question, how to know what you don't know, I can perhaps – just perhaps -- simply submit this painting as Exhibit 1 (as they say on TV police procedurals) in an untampered chain of evidence:


"God Shall Wipe All Tears", 24" x 24", oil stick,
acrylic, mixed textural media on wood panel, 2018.

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Philip Gerstein | Scene4 Magazine | @David Lee Black-2019

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Born and raised in Moscow, USSR, PHILIP GERSTEIN began exhibiting his work in the 1980's with the Boston Visual Artists Union, after pursuing a PhD in Art History at Harvard University.  He studied painting at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and Japanese calligraphy with Toshu Ogawa. Philip has been exhibiting in NYC, Provincetown MA, and very extensively in the Boston area, as well as organizing and curating painting and photography shows. His work has been reviewed, reproduced and praised in numerous publications, including The Boston Globe, ArtScope Magazine, and Art New England, and he is the author of the prize-winning essay, "Art of Color: Beauty in art comes in so many forms; art of color is a special case of it." International Painting Annual 4. 1st. Cincinnati: Manifest Press, 2014. More at: http://www.PhilipGerstein.com
For his other work in Scene4, check the Archives

©2021 Philip Gerstein
©2021 Publication Scene4 Magazine





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