In this series, I reach back across centuries to communicate with these famous masters who have significantly influenced my work as a 21st century artist: Chagall, Pissarro, Van Gogh, Modigliani, Rembrandt, Michelangelo, and Malevich. My goal is to promote a new and vibrant image of the “Big Bear “as a global, unifying symbol for mankind. In order to accomplish this, I had to establish a connection between the word bear as either a noun or verb and a biographical fact about each chosen artist.

Found throughout history, the image of the bear reflects such aspects of human knowledge as astrology (Big Dipper or Great Bear Constellation), literature, and pop art, and it has symbolized land, love, and birth. Also, I find a similarity between the euphoria a bear feels during the sweet but difficult process of retrieving honey from a tree and the experience I have while creating art.

Every envelope has these three distinct content areas:
1. The large window on the left that contains my interpretation of a well-known masterwork by the selected artist
2. The small window in the center which includes a message that references the word bear, the image of a bear, and a related ready-made object and
3. The stamp in the upper right which is a self-portrait painted in the style of the chosen artist.

I use such traditional and contemporary materials as acrylic and oil on canvas, oil on vinyl, paper, and ready-made objects. Depth is created in the two windows by providing painted plastic overlays on the canvas material and by using a layer of paper to increase volume. The envelope form is employed because it acts as a pop symbol and transmits a sense of privacy. Both the content and formal elements of these works are intended to elevate the Big Bear as a global symbol of hope and unity in a chaotic world.

Letter to Chagall
I know you love sweets. Knowing this I am glad to send you candy. Enjoy it.
(Masterwork interpreted: Birth; ready-made object: candy wrapper with a famous Russian painting Bears in the Woods by Shishkin)
painting on canvas and vinyl, 48 x 96 inches, 2008