I was stuck in traffic this morning, a common experience in Los Angeles. When faced with an endless line of tail lights, I usually just listen to NPR or select a CD. Traffic is tough, so I’ve developed a golden rule for the L.A freeways: stay in your lane, and don’t hit the car in front of you. So, there I was—stranded, with my attention focused on the bumper of the car ahead—and I happened to scan the personalized license plate: WKNDOG.
It’s a game we frequently play with personalized plates: What on earth does that stand for? Weekend Dog? Weakend Dog? Walkin’ the Dog? I looked for more clues—and perhaps a dog in the front seat. But, alas, I was stuck behind the car (obeying my number one traffic rule) and couldn’t identify the driver. Then, suddenly, I noticed the license plate frame, and there was my clue, because the frame read: “I’m not over the hill; I’m just on the back nine.”
Not over the hill, just walking the dog and on the back nine. What a great attitude, I thought. Longevity has been on my mind lately because of my rapidly advancing age. As I consider the issues of productivity and stagnation, I’m looking for moments of inspiration. The personalized license plate was certainly one—a pleasant reminder of walking a dog combined with a simple sports analogy.
Over the past 15 years, I’ve been fortunate—this gallery has presented the work of legendary artists such as Beatrice Wood, who continued to work in the studio until she was 105. I have witnessed the incredible burst of energy and power in the monumental late works of Peter Voulkos. And this month, I have received some more inspiration, in the form of the paintings of Ed Moses.
Ed has produced what several viewers have said could be the work of a young man—perhaps in his twenties. For a painter who is so well known for large-scale abstract work, to venture into the territory of decorative patterning and figuration is risky. What 83-year old do you know who would take this much risk? His productivity is astounding, with a vitality and inventiveness that few can match—at any age. It seems to me that he has a key to longevity.