On Saturday, May 31, 2014, Anne Herbert, Virginia Eckinger, and I went to look at an old shop for lease in Northport with thoughts of sharing studio space. There's a longer version of this story, but basically we decided the shop was too good to pass up. After grabbing a bite together at a local German bakery (a beautiful morning on the patio), I went to my studio and worked on a piece for a couple of hours, and was just wondering whether or not it was done when my sister called to tell me our brother Coleman was dead.
Later, after everything was said & done and I finally returned and began to settle back into my art practice, it seemed obvious that the piece was done, because it had such a clear before and after. The clock had stopped. I put it to the side and carried on with other things, and eventually wrapped it with paper because — well, I had to do something with it.
Then I put it back to the side again, but kept looking at it and slowly realized that it was basically insipid and, sentiment aside, needed more work. So I began to add bamboo and surround the figure with additional mark-making. Little by little, as the months went by, I kept adding to the piece — time-elapse sculpture making, bit by bit, touch by touch. Eventually it became a completely different piece, but the dead-Coleman-original is still readily apparent, due to contrasting materials.
When I took the final load of work to install Passages in what is now The Grocery — the artist studios and creative work space that Virginia, Anne, and I decided to launch on the same day that Coleman arrived somewhere else — and got everything into place, with just a final round of detail-work and sweetening to do — dang-it-all if Folly didn't need more work. So I pulled out my kit and added a little more structure to the form while Jack Rose's "Black Pearls from the River" played.
It was both heartbreaking and rich that this would be the last piece I would work on for the show, this would be the one to make better. In fact, it's just a bunch of twigs and paper held together with twine and glue, but that's the way it goes, you know. That's the way life is.