"A straw poll was taken and it has been decided that the following artists will be eaten in this order: Robert Bean, Kathy Strause, and Stephen Cefalo. That at least should get us through the weekend. If you see these artists, please tell them of the "special appreciation" event being held in their honor tonight or just bundle them up in a burlap sack and deposit them at the the Gallery. Thank you!"
Mr. Welliver came of age as an artist in the late 1950's and 60's, at a time when nonrepresentational styles of painting like Abstract Expressionism and, later, Color Field and Minimalism were accorded the highest critical prestige. Along with artists like Larry Rivers, Alex Katz and Philip Pearlstein, Mr. Welliver strove to paint representational images without sacrificing the formal innovations that the Abstract Expressionists Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning had introduced to modern painting.
I discovered them [the draw bridges] when returning to Seneca St. after a day’s work on "Three Boats in Winter" (1933) The time never seemed ripe to do them, however until this year. I made one trip in to look over the subject, and received a new thrill. An attack of lumbago delayed starting, but finally I felt equal to the task and went in. What a delight! what a joy it was ! The subject "over-powered me." I fell in love with it, and a great happiness came over me. (Early in the thinking about these bridges, the title "Black Iron" occurred to me as a suitable one.) It was difficult working, that first day, but I rejoiced in all the handicaps. For example the ground had not settled yet from the spring thaw, and where I stood it was all sand; engrossed in my work I did not know how treacherous it was until I went to step backward and could not move my feet at first; and I had great difficulty with-drawing them. One of the workers on the bridge seeing my predicament, went and got two box-ends for me to stand on. Then there was the wind from the south-west strong and gusty, with occasional spatters of rain; my easel was not well anchored, the legs sank in the sand loosening the guy-ropes etc. Nothing seemed to matter on this first day. By mid-afternoon the rain increased so much that I had to quit painting; but I had the main lines all blocked in, and the immense black counter-weights practically painted.
On another day a strong cold wind came out of the East; by afternoon a cold rain began to fall which soon changed to snow. The great flurries of snow-flakes as they passed the large black counter-weights were beautiful. Another time, the bridges lifted to allow a lake-freighter to go through, a fine sight.
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