chuck rounds

​​​As a sexually active gay man, in the AIDS era, I have conducted most of my intimate activities not so intimately sheathed in plastic, "protected". In modern times plastic seems paramount; it's ubiquitous. However hard we try to rid our home of it, there it is again. I recognize that plastic is often our friend but it has become synonymous for me and many others with with fake, artificial, bogus, "peudo-", unnatural, or insincere. We have also seen its hazards to our environment and personal health.

We as a culture have begun to try to control its contents and its use. We have banned BPH, and plastic bags. New York has recently become the first state to ban plastic microbeads (who knew) in cosmetics like toothpaste (really), body scrubs, shampoo, etc as they have become a major water pollutant.

I endured having various parts of our home and studio wrapped in huge sheets of it for 15 months. I was not happy about it for many reasons aside from off-gassing. 

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30 Photographs, Copyright 2013 .


I find it so easy to avoid those things but they are very necessary. I also planned some much needed R&R.  Well, as April came (as she will), and then went and the construction was very far from complete, my tasks however were done and I was chomping at the bit to get back into the studio.​

Around the time of my 2012 birthday, I was searching in the overcrowded front quarter of my studio where everything previously spread throughout had now been crammed and piled high for nearly a year, to find some portable art supplies for a small project. It was really a filthy mess and it depressed me to just be amid all the chaos. I started to retreat into a place of anger and frustration about the continuing construction delays, but then I stopped in my tracks.

The studio sheathed in plastic sheeting covered with construction dust transformed before my eyes. It's a 19th century wood frame, un-insulated building and is always drafty. Now more so with gaping holes in the walls. 

Mostly, I was annoyed with the duration it remained in place. Given our worst estimate vs. the contractor's estimate, we had planned that the work, started in Nov 2011 would be complete by April 2012 which was twice as long as the contractor had estimated for completion, and we were never quite ready to believe. His estimate of three months took a year longer. Oy.

​I had planned a limited number of administrivia tasks like cataloging my work from the previous five years since grad school , organizing my digital files, returning to a dormant research project, and catching up on some reading. While I normally close the studio for three months as it seems impossible to comfortably heat to say nothing of the expense. It is typically a time of refilling the well to nurture three seasons of studio time.

I had set a task for myself not to paint or pick up my camera and just focus on the admin chores of setting up file naming conventions for future web searches and such. YAWN. 

The plastic whether hanging from the ceiling as a partition between spaces, laid over bookcases, art and supplies, and furniture, or in crumpled piles in a corner, was pulsing undulating as if alive and breathing. It was all bathed in pink, blue, and yellow light. It was a piece of art and I pulled out my cell phone camera.

The studio space is a small rural Episcopal chapel built in 1895. It is very simple structure build in the Moravian style with little adornment. The ambient south-western afternoon light in the studio is a wonder, filtered through five 11-ft arched windows, each pane a block of red, blue, or yellow stained glass and two simple rose windows at the front and back wall. Part of our reconstruction efforts was to replace the rotted altar wall with an 8 x 8 ft. sliding glass door which fills the studio with northern light.

I ended donning a face mask (allergies) and latex gloves (neurotic) and over  three days worked on two separate folios of photographs, Under Wraps and this one, Plastic Intimacies.