by Sabine Calkins
This website has, for the past 15 years, been used to display Larry’s artwork for potential collectors. Sold pieces were removed to keep the site fresh and current. After many years, it became apparent that a new visitor and collector receives only an incomplete sense of Larry’s body of work and with this new section, featuring some of the sold work, we want to correct this omission.
I met Larry at the Greyhound Bus Station in Portland, OR in January of 1982. We crossed paths for about 15 minutes, long enough for him to write down his phone number and then he was off to catch his bus home to Corvallis, OR. I had just arrived in Portland, on the last leg of my trip “around the world” with emphasis on post modern architecture, and Portland boasted a new building by Michael Graves that was causing a stir among architects.
Larry and I spent a week at his parents’ house in Harlan, way off the beaten path, in a beautiful valley with homestead and logging history, and gentle, rounded hills that caught the low clouds and damp morning mist. After several months of sight seeing and hotel rooms, the rugged beauty of this place was captivating and it mesmorized with untold history and magic, so far away from the cultural norm of a typical, urban lifestyle. (I was based in Berlin, West Germany).
We decided to continue my travels together, and again sights and hotel rooms became common occurrence. It was clear early on, that Larry needed to find an expressive, visual outlet. He had introduced himself as a photographer, and true, his Olympus SLR, decorated with stickers and a US flag, was never far from his reach. He made the ordinary look special and intriguing, and he had an uncanny sense for exquisite composition. People of all walks of life had no objections to being photographed by this stranger. We had film processed along the way and enjoyed the results.
Equally astounding was Larry’s tireless drawing and sketching. Shortly after we arrived at a hotel room, he would open his small case of art supplies and get to work, bent over on the floor, capturing events of the recent and distant past. We visited some museums and galleries, but most of all we enjoyed taking part in everyday life in the USA. This was my first visit.
Larry has filled many sketchbooks, big and small, over the yeas and occasionally they inspire his work even today.
In the late 80s we moved to our present location on rural Tiger Mountain, south of Issaquah, WA, where we built our own house - and yes, we built it ourselves. It took 3 long years, at first living in a small Airstream trailer and then spending a very cold winter in the first structure we built, which is today Larry’s studio. We had one faucet for cold water and one extension cord for a heater and the cook top. It was heaven for us and our growing crew of animal friends. Through all of this, Larry was working 40 hour weeks at a custom black & white photo lab, 4 10-hour days of late shift, returning home at 2 am, which left us with 3 full days a week for construction work.
However, there was no longer time left for photography or private printing sessions in a darkroom, but eventually drawings and mono prints developed into paintings -- while all that leftover lumber was just begging to be turned into art objects. Found materials, wood and rusted metal became the basis for his early sculptures
In 1994 Larry approached Mia McEldowny of the much respected MIA Gallery in Seattle and was accepted onto the gallery roster. The MIA gallery specialized in art by folk artists, self-taught artists and the so called outsiders, all of which made for an interesting and unconventional mix of art on display. Larry’s art was taken to the Outsider Art Fair in New York City where it was very well received, and he was offered his first solo show in 1995 6?
Sadly, Mia had to close her gallery due to sudden health problems. Larry continued to show at galleries in Seattle, New York. New England, the South and in California. It’s been 20 years and a lot has changed in the art world.
Mounting this retrospective offers us the opportunity to look back at the art that Larry has created in the past - a welcome chance to stop and take in the view, to contemplate beginnings and transitions, and to recognize continued elements of storytelling that often form the mysterious underlying current in Larry’s imagery.
For this retrospective of sold work, I had asked Larry to comment on some of the paintings and sculptures, hoping for a little more transparency. I didn’t get much of that - instead I got something more compelling - Larry’s prose and poetry, just as intrinsically beautiful and obscure as the visual art, demonstrating a true, well rounded artistic talent and dedication throughout.
Jan 2014, Issaquah, WA,