Fred Birchman

I don’t remember my grandfather having a shop, but if he did he’d be at the shop table, perched on a taped up wooden stool. Under the table would be his one-eyed dog, Biscuit. Biscuit, lazily drifting, would come briefly to attention when the notion struck him that he needed to lick his balls. Left leg straight up in the air, like an antenna, signaling to the wooden radio on the table that did his barking for him. Father Coughlin mindlessly spewing his Fascist agenda between the blips and bleeps of static.

 The shop would have been sweet with the smell of tobacco and cheap Canadian whisky. On the wall there would be a calendar illustrated with friendly, pink, naked girls waving to some friend who’s come to share there spots on the beach. And there would be a slightly bent, metal signs advertising Moxie , Orange Nehi and 7-Up.

 If there were tools, they’d be dusted across the bench. Holding awkward poses or propping up cans of bent nails and old screws. And if there were tools, they’d be like these. Cobbled together, perplexing and nonsensical. Made of wood, not of much use, slightly beat up and hanging together by a thread.

 These objects are from a selection of my second batch of “vestigial” tools. The first tools were exhibited in a faux shop space at the Francine Seders Gallery in 2007. I primarily do mixed media works on paper and am delighted to be showing at Smith and Vallee.

 -Fred Birchman