The Rush


Rush Whitacre’s solo show, Shadows, is opening on March 28 at the Parkersburg Art Center in West Virginia. He’s been planning this for quite a while. I was worried he’d quit painting altogether because he’d gotten so focused on his writing when he left Brooklyn and returned to Ohio to be near his aging father in 2012. Leave it to Rush to give his show a tagline that quotes a famous line from a Depression-era radio drama. He answered a few questions for me:DD: It looks big from the photographs of the space.RW: It’s my first solo exhibition. Huge space, 4,500 square feet, with 15 large walls, 15 small walls. I’ll be exhibiting a lot of shadow art, drawings old and new, some drawings from my book Mabast. Four of them are five feet by seven feet, charcoal on moonstone paper.

DD: Some big paintings too no doubt.

RW: All of the LifeCycle flower paintings will be in the show, a triptych of roses, 15′ x 8′, irises 22′ x 12′, sunflower 11′ x 24′  (the size of Picasso’s Guernica),  daffodils 4′ x 6 and a new dead flower  11′ x 13′. Also in the show will be a painting of a public sculpture in Marietta, Ohio carved by Mount Rushmore’s sculptor. Several paintings of scenes from my novel will have similar proportions. The smallest is 2′ x 6′.

DD: What about the ink drawings/paintings?
RW: I’ll show 63  pieces together in a collection called, Confessions, each one has its own name though they are all numbered from 1 to 63. They’re done on watercolor paper, with ink, water, and colorless oil pastel.  Each piece is vibrant and splashy. I did one every day for two months. Each piece represents a small confession written using oil so that the ink would avoid that area. I did each piece quickly, like a crime of passion.
DD: It’s a perfect space for your three-dimensional shadow art, isn’t it?
RW: I’ll have quite a bit in the show: a Taylor Swift Shadow called “Red” made of pieces of pine wood I ripped down into thin smaller boards and then painted them all red.  Miley Cyrus Shadow called “Wrecking Ball” sculpture looks like a huge pile of cat feces in a litter box; the shadow is of Miley on her Wrecking Ball.  I’ll include the Marilyn Monroe shadow with Marilyn in her pose from the movie the Seven-Year-Itch titled “Seven Stilettos” made of seven pairs of white stiletto heels.  “Pirate”, made of wood and canvas, creates a shadow of a pirate.  “Silhouette II” which is made from garbage is one sculpture that makes three shadows, Venus de Milo, Michelangelo’s David, as well as his The Risen Christ.
DD: I’m really glad to hear you’re back painting. It took you a long time to get back to it after you moved back to Ohio. You had a lot of practical considerations to nail down, such as how to make money.
RW:  I am painting when I can and as much as I can.  I’m drawing too, obviously.  I write very little but I’m reading a lot right now
DD: I heard you’re going to get a tattoo as part of a project Gary Lee Cordray is planning. He’s really got some momentum behind it. I think Sabraw is going to participate.
RW: I don’t know if I will, but, I really want to.  The Tattoo would say “Not Sorry.” Every human being who comes into my life leaves my life in a much better state than when they came to me, no matter the outcome of the relationship.  I am Not Sorry for making people better, even if I lose them as a friend or a girlfriend as a result.  I can only take action based on what I know, and if the results of my actions lead to total failure and explosions in the relationship then I can’t be sorry… a man can’t be sorry for making mistakes with the best of intentions…  If all you want to do is make good things happen and you end up making only bad things happen, then don’t be sorry. Not sorry. Just not sorry.
DD: I second that. Bottom line: You’re back!

2 Responses to “The Rush”

  1. Rush Whitacre

    My good friend Dave Dorsey, I miss you. When I come back to New York we will have to go to Nancy’s Irish Pub and play and drink and be merry. Life is too short to not have another Burger at Nancy’s! haha!

  2. dave dorsey

    We will Rush! I’ll be great having you back in the city. Shuffleboard at Nancy’s . . .