Sunday, February 20, 2011
"When Everything Old is New Again"
The side of Gilbert not many saw was that he was a very reserved and private person and preferred dwelling in solitude. Very few people were actually allowed into his inner world. Sometimes we would plan big elaborate events and he would completely disappear. He would love to attach him self to just one person and pull them off to some remote part of the garden or house and just spend the entire time with them leaving me to handle the details of everything else. Gilbert and I instantly hit it off and were somehow bound because we were both gay. Though we were from different generations, we found a kinship and trust within each other that I have never felt with any other. Our relationship remained purely professional. We idealized and respected each other and learned and grew so much from the others life experience. Gilbert’s deepest fears and innermost anxiety surrounded issues of being a homosexual, which he ever really came to terms with. It was something he struggled with all of his life and he was haunted by to his last breath. He lived vicariously through me and I sensed envied the open and honest way I lived my life. You see Gilbert didn’t think anyone could see him as gay, although it was quite obvious to anyone who encountered him. Then one day, when one of his long time women friends come to the house and asked him if he was gay. He was aghast with indignity that someone would even think so and went off, shutting himself in the house and ranting for weeks about the incident. Gilbert had a terrible temper and could become obstinate if things would not go to his liking and would become obsessive on the issue allowing it to consume him. When he would get in one of these moods I would come to work, see the fit he was in and walk back out the door telling him: “I would not work with him he until he get over it and to call me when it had passed.” I always got a call a couple of hours later asking me to come back to work. But for the most part I think Gilbert was a lonely man. He was a man who had the resources to do or obtain anything in the world and yet he was trapped in an inner struggle of obsessive collective behavior, to surround himself creating a mask to cover his insecurities. I know he loved me and nurtured me as an artist. He was fascinated by my images, especially the nudes, and I would tribute new pieces to him. I would not be here today if it were not for Gilbert. He has taught me so much about myself because, though his internalized homophobia, I found strength within myself. It made me face my own fears and anxieties allowing me to step outside myself, recognize my own connection to it, and explore these themes though my on images. Gilbert I forget how much you haunt me. Thanks for giving me such a precious gift of art.
Thinking of Gilbert I am reminded of a musical production number from the Broadway Production of The Boy From Oz where High Jackman sings: "WHEN EVERYTHING OLD IS NEW AGAIN".
VIEW FULL IMAGE: Nude Steve