Soot and Soul

2. After the Storm

April 2016 - July 2017 April

No work of art is ever produced in the midst of a storm,  we only have a recollection after the fact. But the experience is profound, the sheer force of nature obliterates the very instruments designed to understand and measure it.

This second series of Soot and Soul, entitled "After the Storm," explores the frailty and vulnerability in the aftermath of such an event. Its recurring image is the shape of a damaged vessel in need of repair. It is a small boat, stranded, rudderless. The work is executed on five large Formica panels, the surface of which I scar and damage by means of the lithographic levigator. Just as the depiction of mist and fog will erase parts of an artist's image, the effect of a storm leaves its mark on the artist's work.

           After the Storm 1                    After the Storm 2

                   After the Storm 3              After the Storm 4

                      After the Storm 5

"Three times I went to the Berkeley marina to look at the riggings of the sailboats, how the spreader spars deflect the shrouds, how the mainsail is attached to the mast. I look up the hardware online: the cam cleats, the swivel shackles, the vangs and buckles.

I close my studio door and shed all my knowledge: my sail must capture the force of the spirit, not just the strength of the wind."

Herlinde Spahr, Notebooks (7-23-2017)

Soot and Soul consists of four movements, 16 panels, all executed the same way and with the same size.

Part One: The Hemlock Suite( 7 panels)

Part two: After the Storm( 5 panels)

Part Three: Raptus(3 panels)

Part four: Midway( 1 panel)

Each panel consists of a layer of Formica backed with two layers of doorskin. They all measure 57" x 27". Lampblack oilpaint, lithographic pencil. Scars made with the lithographic levigator. Techniques borrowed from printmaking, monotype.