My paintings usually evolve from several series of collages and drawings. I employ wide-ranging materials in the collages, creating my own sense of order, pattern, and color.
While painting, I find I am in a constant back and forth with the piece. Sometimes I'm telling the painting where to go while, other times, the painting is telling me what to do. I'm interested in rough geometry, points of intersection, and a loose, shifting kind of symmetry.
I'm aware of the canon of art history but find great inspiration in the so-called "Outsiders." I would never paint directly from an old quilt or a hand dyed rug but I see great beauty in both.
Ultimately, I aim to get each painting to a logical place at which the color, scale shift, and structure are just right for that particular canvas. I never know how or when I will arrive but I trust the process.
Facing south on the corner of 84th Street and 5th Avenue in Manhattan, the woods and lakes of Central Park are on your right, and on your left, rows of buildings march downtown. Straight ahead, bridging the two distinct landscapes is the Metropolitan Museum. At that intersection art unites nature with society the way I do in my imagery.
My interest in unifying nature and society comes from life experience. I've lived in cities mostly, but I also spent years in the wilderness of the Sierra Nevada and on the ocean as an offshore expedition leader. Such varied circumstances taught me that despite the perceived separation between society and nature, they are really complementary parts of a single system and though we may never fully understand their juncture, we must integrate them to thrive as a species.
My artworks are embodiments of this integration, and despite the abstract appearance of my imagery, my practice is rooted firmly in the plein-air landscape tradition. Like the Hudson River School painters before me, I am interested in focusing on nature as something to be revered and embraced, rather than something to be exploited or feared. Linear, diagrammatic structures mixed with planes of color render partial views, or fragmentary maps of imagined spaces, both miniscule and vast, where nature and technology meet. Contrast among my forms and counterintuitive color combinations are metaphors for a world where technology and ecology are in symbiosis despite their difference.
My paintings are rooted in experience; how experience is – in essence – change over the course of time. They arise from observable and conceptual phenomenon. The work comes out of natural cycles of growth, decay and regeneration and the human cultural response to these cycles — especially within the context of the contemporary urban environment, the dichotomy of human culture and an independent natural life. I see such changes as dynamic forces in flux, at different rates of ebb and flow. The paintings then are about human reaction to change as much as they are about observable phenomenon in nature. They congeal as iconic pictures both from memory and from ideation.
I paint in groups, working on the same composition or organizational idea so that the paintings inform each other and work back and forth enabling them to expand beyond or abandon their original parameters. Drawing from life, I work through sketchbooks in a serial manner to generate different compositional ideas and relationships. That is how one abstracts and internalizes experience and this is what I do with painting. At the group painting stage, I see how formal relationships grow and change through the course of working. Both color and form can either be referential or act in terms of the picture's own internal structure. Through a combination of hard-edged and biomorphic abstraction I construct a pictorial architecture that emphasizes formal relationships. This involves drawing on and scraping away layers of paint, where I incur in myself a responsive flexibility. The work is complete when the painting exhibits its own psychological independence, when it "looks back" at the viewer by projecting its pictorial energy out into the space around it. The intent of this work then is for the viewer to experience change through a visceral, physical encounter with the painting.
A great teacher of mine once said paint can be anything, a sentiment I very much agree with. I might add that paint can be everything — at once.
Through the use of basic geometric shapes — squares, rectangles and trapezoids — I make paintings that simultaneously reference a number of visual notions and phenomena. Architectural forms derive from rectangularly shaped painting media and are a response to the urban landscape in which I live. Color combinations reference the elements – water, earth, sky, and fire – while also referring to digital light, the vibrant blue of a computer desktop, and childhood memories of Boston's brick cobbled streets and buildings. Figurative content speaks to the experience of confronting somebody within the confines of a rectangle, be it a doorway or a mirror. Pressurized junctions of form, and subsequent deformations of shape, are a nod to aerial photography and environmental forces acting on one another.
Laden with contradictory source material, the geometric units that reverberate throughout the work are at once flat and volumetric, solid and ephemeral, synthetic and organic, static and kinetic, fictitious and real; they are structures seen from above and from the ground; they are free-standing and verge on collapse; they speak of pink flesh, metal shards and glowing television screens; they are somebody who is nobody, someplace that is no place.
The duality of the paintings, their refusal to fit into a single reading, their very instability makes them more than the sum of their parts — it gives them vitality and a spark of life.
Artist's Statement (fragment)
"…the idea that abstraction can be a political tool and statement has influenced my own work.
I find the theories of the Constructivists in utopias, revolution, and social collapse very pertinent to what is happening today…"