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Red Wolf, Embrace New York
mixed media: various acrylics and thermoset plastics
15.5" x 15.5" 2001

I have a friend who wanted to do something for New York and we were talking about a project that he wanted my help with. It got me thinking about what I would want to say. I always liked the Red Hot Chilly Peppers song for LA that they composed after the riots there a few years back. In this song the singer is acknowledging LA as a living, spirit of the place, that talks to him, comforts, and cares for him. I see in this painting something of that feeling directed towards New York. There are the flames and the suggestion of the falling buildings but what is happening here is a loving spirit embrace.

I followed what I saw suggested in the paint. I had started this painting before the bombing along with several others. I kept setting this one aside, it was not coming together in a way that I knew where I wanted to go with it. After the bombing this was the first painting I came back to and where before the bombing there was no clear figurative direction to this painting now she was immediately clear to me. My change of reference enabled me to see into this painting an image that expressed more nuances about what I felt about New York that I think I would have articulated to myself otherwise. It feels meaningful to me that she is dark haired, squatting, and dressed perhaps tribally. Gipsy, Eastern European, Middle Eastern, she could be all of

the above and more. When I imagine the face of the Muse of New York I find this image to be perfect for her. This connection to spirit of place is what I would want to give New Yorkers right now, to feel her embrace. Acknowledgment of how she shapes us is comforting, to recognize that she has been shaped by us, humanity from around the world, is to recognize a quintessential truth of what is so special about New York.

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