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In 1968 my studio was above a thrift shop, and rummaging through the discards was a daily ritual.  I stumbled upon an old l948 salesman’s book of linoleum floor samples, with photographs of sleek kitchens, bathrooms, and other rooms eager for a cheerful, plastic make-over.  The marbleized linoleum samples had beautiful swirls and speckled flicks in a range of color from grays to brilliant primary colors, like stylized details from a Pollock painting.

For years I had worked with large museum-scaled canvases, most were heavy with paint from layers of failed abstract paintings.  Somehow, the flip-side of these angst-ridden abstract images was ironically evident in these immaculate photos of garish, as-yet-to be-lived-in, people-less rooms.  I stretched a fresh canvas on 5 x 10 foot stretcher bars and eagerly set out to paint the worst possible subject I could imagine, in the least expressive manner and with bright ugly color.  An abstract painting would normally take two days to complete, whereas this new painting took over two months.  I had used photos prior to this, but I had always skewed and manipulated them so as to loose the original photo source.  However, with this newly found interior photo it was important to capture all the incidental information in the original so as not to lose its primary impact.  The linoleum floors were flooded with lights, making shadows very minimal and flaws were airbrushed out of the photo, which flattened the picture plane even more.  These working-class wish pictures seemed to be airless and suffocating.  A strange contradiction in that the intent was to sell the goods, not to repel the customers.  I knew immediately that this old Eisenhower-Era linoleum book had a juicy source material that could keep me going for years.

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