Wednesday, January 03, 2007

My father's artwork

Japanese Landscape in mosaic tile created by my father sometime in the 1960s.

This is the tag on the back. My father was the top civilian assistant to the Chief of Personnel for the Naval Reserve when he died of a heart attack in 1972 at age 57. He worked at the Navy Annex, which is just uphill from the Pentagon in Northern Virgina. During his long recuperation from an attack ten years earlier, he discovered a passion for making mosiac tile art. Dad accumulated a stock of bathroom tile that he picked up free or at very little charge from contractors. He and mom had designed and had built four houses between 1952-58 and of course in the process had made good acquaintance with many contractors. It appears dad had entered this piece in a competition at his office. You can see he was left-handed. He developed great strength in his hand and could cut the thick tiles single-handedly using a tile cutter.

All of these pieces are in need of a good cleaning and re-grouting. They are quite heavy, so they've been stacked on the floor for more than 30 years. One day I shall re-frame and hang them where they can be enjoyed.
Dad was born in 1913 to a railroad foreman and a second-generation Irish immigrant. He was raised in the tiny town of Gordon (pop. 2,000) in the panhandle of northwestern Nebraska. He was the first of his family to graduate from college, and after graduation he moved to Washington, DC where he put himself through law school and later met my mom. From these examples, I surmise that he was indeed an artist.
My dad designed and made this piece himself; I believe it is a representation of Venice.

Roger the cat inspects the piece from this angle,

experiences it in a tactile manner,
and gives it his sanguine nod of approval.
Would you call this a cat-scan?

1 comment:

Genevieve said...

I like the Japanese landscape. The lines in it seem delicate and graceful, despite the medium.