"With furious winds whipping my golden
Tail, with blue skies above, and nostrils flared
Earth gives gives gives beneath my hooves."
~JoAnne McFarland, "Identifying the Body"
Some artworks have a long
story & a storied
history. Some artworks
take a long time to find
their destined place. I
know some of them will;
others, scattered to the
winds, shall know
like most anything born or
I remember painting it,
what turned out to be my
largest finished canvas.
It then waited some 15
years until its time
unpredictable, it filled a
vital need to find its
I do remember painting it.
It arrived at the tail end
of my 'grey
background' series. I
mixed brown and black to
make heavy determinate
strokes. Oil stick on top
of acrylic, fat over lean;
composition open, yet
bound on 3 sides;
rebalance... . Some
desperation towards the
end, until the oil stick
strokes settled in, with
"Ysabel's Table Dance" 54 x 63 in. (137 x 160 cm). Oil stick & acrylic on canvas.
Its title, "Ysabel's Table Dance", was borrowed from Charlie Mingus' tune --
the one from his favorite studio album, "Tijuana Moods", ca.1958. It featured
castañets, for added authenticity, and a higher female voice driving the tune,
and it is pretty irresistible.
"Ysabel's Table Dance" was the centerpiece of my first Chelsea NYC show, in
2015. It was written about, reproduced, instantly liked. Then again it
...waited until early this year, to find that perfect spot. It was picked for a
bare, beckoning wall in a new high-end apartment complex, with a view of
the sea, on Boston's North Shore. It is to grace the building's Library Room.
Having worked for decades as a librarian, I suppose this was indeed
inevitable. A perfect spot, and a painting that seems to have been made
for it... .
"Ysabel's Table Dance", installed (photo ©Susan Berstler)
The Opening for both the new building and its art treasures is scheduled for
early this Fall; I really look forward to it!