Two Stories with Porch (for Robert Cobuzio) had two specific sources: one, a small building probably built as a toll booth, which stood at the entrance to the Holland Tunnel; the other, a bay-windowed rowhouse in Phillipsburg, New Jersey, photographed by George A. Tice. In each structure, I liked the way you could look up and into a window, across an interior space and out again through another window. I was also drawn to the second-story bay windows in Edward Hopper’s paintings. One stands in the dark night and looks up into a warm bright room. One sees, just beyond, through the far window, darkness again. The room represents a brief, human interlude in the long night. As we stand gazing at it, it is not strangers’ secrets we are after, but something of ourselves, something interior, something imagined—perhaps something remembered.
In the course of the two years I spent making Two Stories with Porch, a close friend died. He was an artist who had grown up in New Jersey. The fact that I was taking a New Jersey rowhouse and making it stand alone took on added meaning. The work became about our friendship, severed, and a tribute to him. My decisions about many of the details were guided by this. The room on the second floor with a light is meant as a resting place for him and the house’s appearance as a building under renovation as a symbol of rebirth.