The New Orleans gallery reopened in January of 2006; however, the positive nature of George’s paintings seemed out of place. Our staff worked overtime selling Blue Dog Relief prints, including We Will Rise Again, raising more than $2 million benefiting local causes. Life before the storm, both in and out of the gallery, seemed blurry and miles away. Everything was different. There were no tourists, no one walking in the French Quarter. And no one, including George, our staff, and the public cared about paintings, especially anything dated (and forever described as) ‘before the storm.’ (pictured, Where Are We Going? 2006)
It was almost a year before George returned to his easel, and when he did, the fragmented, dark canvases indicated a strong departure from the controlled, deliberate, hard edge shapes of not only Bodies, but also earlier Blue Dog and Cajun works. These new paintings, also called The Dream Series, lack definition, as though the Blue Dog, just like the rest of George’s world, exploded into chaos and unpredictability.
(pictured, Last Night I Went Looking for Myself; We Are Lost Together; You Would Think We Are the Same)
For more on the series Hurricanes, visit here.
Although the twenty or so dark paintings of 2006-7 ended up on the gallery walls, one remains in our private collection. The painting Black Magic (2006, 24x24 inches, pictured below) hangs in our home, a reminder of old feelings even now, when we believe we’ve moved on, or when we save watching Treme for another day, because sometimes the painting is enough, and we can't handle the specific memories.
Eventually George’s artwork shifts again. He transitions from his initial fragmented post-Katrina paintings to a more defined Blue Dog, and yet still avoids the hard edge of his earlier works. (pictured, I Am an Artist, 2006, 28x22 inches)
These paintings, among my favorites of the entire Blue Dog series, speak of cautious optimism, as though the Blue Dog pulls itself together on canvas even as George dares to believe that New Orleans will pull through. (pictured, You're the Only One Under the Sun; Summer of '06; You Got Problems?)