New paintings by Tristram Pinney (Toronto) created in Kingston, NY  in May of 2018 will be on exhibition at Green Kill from June 2, 2018 until June 30 from 3-9 PM, Tuesday – Saturday.  Opening celebration is on June 2 between 5 and 7 PM.


About Tristram Pinney

May 27th, 2018 

   As I trudged, I scanned the sidewalk. I do so often to thwart the possibility of some road-kill startling me. Spotting a bird, I took it at first sight to be dead. Relieved it hadn’t startled me, I looked closer, only to have it twist its head, opening its thin beak to gawk up deliriously. Looking away was instant reflex, and I peeled about a hundred yards past the scene before my conscience got the wheel. I realized forebodingly that I ought to kill it, and right there to my left a craggy thick of slate lay. I hesitated a moment, making up my mind on whether to commit or walk away (I hadn’t yet put an animal down), before lifting the stone and turning to face the task. I stood and watched the patch of sidewalk downrange for another unnerved minute or two, hoping the little thing would just get up and fly or something. Of course it didn’t, and I edged closer, wincing each time a leg or wing twitched. Eventually I stood above it, and as it writhed more spiritedly and attempted to stand I committed. I hefted up the slab and let it drop, wheeling away as I did so. A step back I heard it shatter, several steps more I turned to survey at what I had done. Edging just close enough to peer cleanly between the pieces, and saw the mulched yellow beak and smote dark head lying limp and still. I didn’t feel capable of walking away, so I set up my French box and painted the bird beneath the stone.

   An old war vet lumbered over from his house across the street as I finished the piece. He asked what I was painting and I tried supress the ice in my voice when I said I had killed a bird and was painting it. He replied “ah, well that’s alright” and said he liked the subject of the painting. He told me a bit about the building I had been beside all the while, then spoke of how the town of Kingston had become less central and community oriented over the years. He said he didn’t mind the paint, that he had been a contractor for many years, and shook my hand. He had built, meaty hands, and I realized he had probably killed things, maybe even a person or two during war, and that as he had said his age was 72, his perception of death and killing was far more measured than mine. That evened my mood enough, but I wondered if merely getting used to death was an inevitable need, or something to phase out.

May 29th, 2018

   I woke up confident that I had dealt with the bird incident from a couple of days ago: I’d come to terms with it, though I had seen a healthy baby bird cheerily seated in a cake box that someone had picked up posted on facebook as they asked about what to do with it, and wondered about the legitimacy of my decision, I still resolved it was a sound choice. The morning and early aft was bright and hot and green. I dawned my kit and headed out, intent on getting uptown for some plein air. I went to Rhinebeck art supply to see what they had in the way of canvases, got four 8×10’s and continued my walk. Then as I rounded the bend I startled as I beheld another bird. This one was not wet and mangled like the first, it seemed perfectly healthy, save for the fact that it was a fallen baby bird whose nest had been blown from the tree above. I cursed, and wondered what to do this time. A guy walked by and I pointed it out so as he wouldn’t step on it. He looked in wonderment, and then continued on his way. Just as I returned to wondering what to do, a tall man rounded the bend on a bike. I think I said watch out, but I didn’t hear myself say it, as the moment at which I did, the bikers wheel rode crisply over this bird, which made an eggs crackling sound, brain and neck popping and smearing out the side of its skinned body. My eyes winced away from the flayed garble-chick to glare at the biker in dismay. “Sorry”, he ejaculated dumbly, without stopping. I didn’t look again at the bird, I just strode away muttering to myself “I guess that’s the way it goes, humans just have this indomitable leg up. Fuck”. I sat in a coffee house later, watching a baristas toddler teeter about happily, and I kept thinking about the dead birds, and how easy and simple it was to kill a youth.