I am interested in painting that is formally abstract and yet referential. The images are arrived at through a process of unconscious painting. As the work progresses, opportunities present themselves, form is teased out, a nexus of color asserts itself and an image takes shape. Once I recognize something is happening, I help it along to become what it wants. My conscious mind takes over and choices are made that move the piece to completion. Ultimately it is a message in a bottle to myself in which I come to understand the world and my reaction to it.
"XO" refers to "exoskeleton" but also, not so obviously, to human connection and empathy as in "hugs and kisses" (XOXO). These paintings refer to the body and the person—the porous cage that holds our stuff: experiences, traumas, history, organs and emotions—that makes us who we are. Though begun before the advent of the COVID pandemic, these paintings took on the added expression of the experience of isolation in ourselves, our bodies and our pods and seeing others through that same lens.
THINGS FALL APART
In this series I wanted to deal with pictorial depth, weight, light and shadow. The subject of nondescript objects or parts of things is a surrogate for the ambition to make something in a world of impermanence. This conceit lends itself to improvisation, discovery and play. I try to keep the process open and unconscious for as long as possible. Ultimately, the need for pictorial strategies asserts itself and I respond to formal opportunities to construct an image that makes sense to me.
THE GUTENBERG VARIATIONS
Both paintings and books are depositories of ideas. We experience the pages of a book as flat—black ink on white paper—but a book has space in the way a painting has space, through ideas and conventions. The books we read and the paintings we live with, define and reveal us. Just as a book requires the reader to assemble images and ideas out of its signs and symbols, the viewer of a painting is asked to translate the strokes and drips into reason and emotion. In recent works, vases are taking up residence on the shelves alongside the books. They are vessels of another kind, just like the painting they inhabit.