As always, I am grateful for opportunities to propose for various institutions. The work in this gallery was created fully on paper and in a digital world, however it was not funded for completion in physical reality. I am quite fond of these pieces, and some came close to being realized. Continue reading
“INDU: Commensalists and Hand Me Downs” Installation, Oregon College of Arts and Craft
INDU: Commensalists and Hand Me Downs Mixed media installation 12 ft x 12 ft x 12 ft 2008
This work came from an earlier residency at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore in 2006. I finished cutting the plates and printing the prints that came from that residency, while I was in residence at the Oregon College of Art and Craft in 2007. This installation was created for the 2008 AIR Exhibition that brought back all the participating artists for a show. I combined a large drawing, archival digital C-prints, woodcut prints, commercial mesh banners and ephemera to create the effect INDU had on me in 2006.
This work has been featured in a National Parks Publication,
“Duty and Remembrance,” North Key Largo Fire Station, Key Largo, Florida
Duty and Remembrance, ID Wall 16 ft x 12 ft x 6 in watercut aluminum with powdercoat 2006
Duty and Remembrance, Towers with Fire Fighter 8 ft x 3 ft x 4 ft watercut aluminum with powdercoat 2006
This two part work was completed for the Florida Keys Council of the Arts and Monroe County Art in Public Places. This piece was awarded in 2006 and completed in 2007. After a site visit, conversations with the Chief, and talks with fire fighters in the Grove, I began my proposal. I combined images of places that the fire fighters frequented while they were off duty with a tribute to fire fighters who lost their lives while they were on duty. The wave elements on the ID wall came from Japanese iconography. The fire fighter with the axe was a portrait that I did of a retiring veteran fire fighter in the Grove. The same fire fighter was my model for the fire fighter at rest, leaning on the tower elements.
INDU Banner/ INDU: Commensalists and Hand me downs
INDU Banner mesh banner 60 ft x 16 ft 2007-2008
In 2007 during the frenzy leading up to Art Basel/Miami Beach, Chris Ingalls of Ingalls & Associates offered me a wall. Delighted, I asked “where”? She pointed at the 60 ft x 16 ft wall on the west side of her gallery space. I was sorting and processing the images that were to become the book, INDU: Commensalists and Hand Me Downs, and welcomed the opportunity to create something that would use the space. As is often the case, my projects take a significant amount of time to complete, and evolve as I work on them. This banner preceded the small installation I created for Oregon College of Art and Craft’s 2008 Artist in Residence Exhibition following my residency there in summer 2007.
The echo of the environment surrounding Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore (INDU), was evident in the not quite gentrified atmosphere of Wynwood. During installation I saw the inhabitants of Wynwood without the art loving crowds in place. It was a significantly different place. As different as the urban corridor in Northern Indiana between Gary, Indiana and Michigan City, Michigan was from the National Park located just North of I-94. Different struggles with similar attributes made this odd billboard fit right in.
Escape 3: Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll, an artist’s book
Escape 3: Sex, Drugs, and Rock & Roll 11 inches x 15 inches x .5 inc 2008
In this third and final volume of the Escape Series, the artist lands on Duval Street in Key West during a charming festival called Fantasy Fest. It is a cautionary tale with seven maps, seven pop ups, seven prints and accompanying stories from the Key West Citizen’s Police Briefs. Hard to believe, but I assure you, it is all true. I have seen it.
Book block is sewn with a kettle stitch using plywood covers wrapped in white denim with a plain brown wrapper. The endsheets are katazome paper. The edition size is 20.
This book is dedicated to a long time friend, Rick Reasin.
Escape 2, an artist’s book
Escape 2 11 inches x 15 inches x .5 inc 2004
Escape 2 picks up where “escape*… restrictions apply” left off, from the 7 Mile Bridge, headed west, geographically, and from my status as a solo traveler to becoming an honored guest of the native Florida Keys’ residents on my escape. Here I take the highway to places only a native would know, and join friends on, in, or under the waters of the Florida Keys.
The book has seven woodcut prints colorized from the original prints, unryu overleafs, altered charts, and a 1,500 word essay by the artist that speaks to the mysteries of the Keys and their residents. I am joined by a hunter/killer and earth mother in my travels from the 7 Mile Bridge to Key West and the waters off shore.
Escape prints (Florida Keys)
The work pictured here is a series of prints taken from repeated trips to the Florida Keys, visiting a long time friend. Sadly, my friend has passed away, but the friendship and experience of seeing the Keys as a native still lingers. The works begin on Card Sound Bridge and move south and west to the Seven Mile Bridge. The second group goes from Big Pine to just south of Key West. The third group runs around the main drag in Key West, Duval Street. These images are a snapshot of what happens during a Duval Crawl during Fantasy Fest. These images are gathered into the Escape Series of artist’s books as well.
Each print is 16 inches by 20 inches, edition of 20, woodcut relief prints on Japanese papers (except ATG and the Card Sound Bridge and Tracy and Bahia Honda Bridge, 30 inches x 34 inches).
Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore
This National Park is nestled between Gary, Indiana and Michigan City Michigan spanning almost 20 miles across the southern shore of Lake Michigan on Indiana’s northernmost border. Nestle is probably not the word I should use to describe the relationship this 15,000 acre park has with its neighbors. It is hidden in urban sprawl that spans the southern edge of the Park. A residency there in 2006 had a profound effect on my relationships with the National Parks System, so much so that the images became part of another artist’s book: “INDU: Commensalists and Hand-me-downs.” INDU is the National Park’s acronym for the Park’s longer name, Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. My work from this residency is featured on the Parks website (http://www.nps.gov/indu/supportyourpark/2006-Artist,-Tom-Virgin.htm) and in a U.S. Publication about AIR programs in all the National Parks (Drawing New Audiences, Expanding Interpretive Possibilities www.nps.gov/bicy/supportyourpark/upload/-0339415.pdf).
2006 Artist-in-Residence Tom Virgin – National Park Service
Each of the prints in this series is 16 inches x 20 inches, in black ink on Japanese paper, in an edition of 20.
Broadsheets, work on paper
2008 brought a new wrinkle to my production: Broadsheets. John Cutrone taught an introduction to broadsheets at the Jaffe Center for Book Arts that was anything but beginning. His teaching and guidance helped me to become a part of al-Mutannabi Starts Here group of artists. For more on this, check out the Jaffe website: http://www.library.fau.edu/depts/spc/JaffeCenter/collection/al-mutanabbi/index.php
Another opportunity to work with writers came through the Miami SWEAT Portfolio. A group of Miami writers and artists responded to a call for broadsheet collaborations that responded to the concept of “sweat” in any or all of its permutations. Two meetings at Sweat Records in Miami in 2009 and 2011 provided a venue for the meet and greet between the visual/word artists. The portfolio continues to grow.
The SWEAT Portfolio also introduced me to several writers with national reputations and local addresses. Several years of artist’s residencies have brought a wealth of experience from artists in other disciplines to bear on my practice. I am always amazed and charmed to find that that guy (or girl) who I say hello to at Book and Books in Coral Gables is also a writer. Poet Michael Hettich and I began collaborating as a result of meeting during a SWEAT get together. In 2011 we collaborated on his poem, “Flood.” The effort produced four broadsheets that weave images through this beautiful poem. Our broadsheets were purchased for the collection of Alberto Ibargüen at the 2011 Locust Projects “Smash and Grab” Fundraiser.
Various other works spinning out of public art projects and other ventures are included in this gallery.
Watauga County, North Carolina
Friends and family have brought me to Boone, North Carolina on several occasions. I was a finalist in a call for public art for the AppalCART Transportation System that serves Appalachain State University and Watauga County in the mountains of North Carolina. The work is a result of exploring the area and meeting its residents. The proposal images for the AppalCART Central Station are in the Public Art section of this site.
Linoleum cut prints, black ink on Japanese Paper, editions of 20. C-prints dimensions variable, editions of 20. Metal Drawings, editions of 5, dimesions variable.