Wednesday, August 04, 2010

The Penney & The Marble

Here is Yours Truly with Charles Rand Penney - just Charlie to friends - about a year ago, during the (I thought rather sad) liquidation of his collection of local artists in a banquet room at a suburban hotel.
Lines of people wrapped nearly out to the lobby and YT burst onto the scene and shimmied into the room with only one purpose, to go and see Charlie who YT knew would be holding court somewhere in the room.
And he was.
I handed my camera to Fern Levin, also a collector of regional artwork.
Charlie liked to say that he was giving his "best Nancy Parisi" smile - he, like several in the community, always respected my scrappy dedication to documenting the art happenings and their creators.

I visited Charlie twice at his Bewley Building digs in Lockport, a curious outpost of collection, with a small smattering of domestic furnishings.
I remember being somewhat shocked that his bed was amid the sprawling and overwhelming (to me) collections, it in a corner surrounded by works of art - and, proudly, Charlie pointed out that his own Nancy Parisi piece hung over his double bed. One of about sixteen pieces over the bed. But still, a true place of honour in any household for what hangs over the bed truly means something as it's the first and last thing one sees each day.
I was duly flattered.
The piece was a piece that he purchased from a group show at the Burchfield-Penney Art Center, an exhibition called Artists and Toys or somesuch title.
It showed my hand model of the era playing marbles, a very sumptuous image, printed richly backlit so that the marbles shone like fiery little planets - like how in real life real marbles invite and demand scrutiny.
Charlie bought the piece, informed me that he done so, and immediately requested the marble of central focus in the selenium-toned print.
I stated that I would deliver to him said marble.
But that actual marble proved elusive, I never could locate that exact marble.
And Charlie being Charlie would know that indeed it was not thee marble: it would be like passing off a kid's deceased & flushed goldfish as another cheap goldfish.
It is an impossibility, both have been scrutinized and inscribed.

I put off this request, occasionally looking, and not finding, the marble.
It became a bit of a thing - Charlie would mention and remind me, I would proffer up a promise of another search.

Me being me, and that is ever-planning, can tend towards gestures of assumed or presumed impetuousness, especially in matters of artwork - and gardens.
YT seems to recall the tossing of the marble into the garden after the shoot, or was that dreamed.
In any case, the marble was never located, and Charlie did stop asking.
It was indeed a thing.

There are some who are iconographic, and Charlie was one of those people.
Not only for his vast collections that elapsed seven decades, but for his respectable diligence, and polymathic nature.

YT aspires to, but forever misses, but fakes it at times, diligence and the multi-genre tendencies of the polymath.

Cheers to Charlie, a sip of stars.

Star Love, Charlie Love.