Monoprint by Stewart Millsaps

Last night I was privileged to attend an exhibition of my youngest son’s recent work.  Stewart is an artist, and decided to show what he’d recently been doing.  His friend and former employer was kind enough to lend him a cavernous warehouse space and Stewart spent the week prior hanging the show.  On Sunday he threw open the garage door to the public.

The work was a young artist’s absorption and iteration of  his heroes.  Stewart is pretty sophisticated in his choice of heroes, so there were clear messages being channeled from Miro, Rothko and Picasso.  There were big monoprints that were serene meditations like Rothko, first rendered in many colors, and as Stewart ran out of supplies, fewer colors, and finally lots of work in purple and red.  I loved the doggedness that propelled him forward through even the lack of supplies.  That will make a great art legend someday when he’s prospering and recalling his beginnings.
There were delicate meditations on line and fantasy that called up Miro, and I was fortunate enough to be able to buy my favorite.  Stewart, better than any really young person I’ve even known, understands and loves Picasso.  I saw images that immediately brought to mind our trip to the south of France when he was 14 to retrace the steps of Picasso.  It has clearly been rattling around in his soul ever since.
A load of sense memories linger for me from last night.  It was a bit like a really wonderful dream that keeps popping up during your conscious day.  There had been a great playlist of music to attend the show.  When I got there Brazilian jazz filled the huge space, echoing off the concrete surfaces.  When I drove back over late last night, to help him close up, the lights were out in the warehouse and the streetlight found its way into the garage door. Stewart had the streetlight’s halo.  My car radio was playing eerie meditative world music as Stewart’s lone angular figure moved around in the darkness, quickly closing things down.  I received it all as an expression of the melancholy/triumphant themes that have played in my head for the last month or so– loss and gain, sickness and health, the moving away of people I love as they leave the earth, or leave my life, or grow up to be men.  It felt as lonely as that enormous echoing darkened hall.  It felt as poetic as a dancing ink line in a wash of peach watercolor.  It felt like the unknown territory of tomorrow.