I am quite thrilled to be doing an exhibition by invitation for the first time in my career of the cakes. This exhibition to open January 13, 2018 was curated by James Salomon in New York. I have been doing cake paintings on paper and canvas since 1996 when I first showed with Jean-Michel Basquiat in New York. This exhibition is titled: Cakes Stacked / Stacked Cakes: From 24 Cakes at Kit Mandor. The cakes developed organically over time and were never ‘directed’ or intentionally or theoretically developed. It happens that my father was an architect who trained in Europe and worked in New York, while my mother, who was a Viennese writer, baked a good many taste cakes while we were kids growing up in New York. The cakes therefore are a marriage of sorts between the architectural and the domestic.
Barry Schwabsky, a New York based writer and art critic had written that the he felt that the cakes were more architectural than they were about something ‘sweet’ and that the armature of the cake, in a similar fashion to Josef Alber’s squares and Mark Rothko’s floating cloud shapes, allowed me to play with color and space, and the tension and/or harmony between the two; i.e. the armature of the cakes and the variations on color of armature and ground was what kept the cakes alive and intriguing.
For me, the rather amazing aspect to the cakes is how very much ‘variety’ I manage to squeeze out of a format that I have done many, many times. One writer in New York termed this – “the solace of repetition,” and there is clearly something wonderful to repeating said format (think Matisse’s back series or Picasso’s painting of the bull, amongst others.)
One never knows which way the brush will drip, whether the paint application will be a bit thick or a bit more liquid. The drawing may be thick and sluggish of rail thin and moving fast, but for me, the magic and the mystery continues to be that while I may start a painting knowing it will be a cake, I never really know how the cake will come out. We all wait in suspense.