The past 25 years of art-making, my paintings have hovered between representation and abstraction to picture how subjective perception interferes with reality. Abstraction becomes meaningful for me when put into context with figuration to help ground the image in our human perception. My focus has moved from the psychology of the body to that of space. Grieving the end of our world through climate change has made me seek out a space where beauty meets foreboding, and science meets myth.
Painting becomes my stage, a setting with potential for the performance of rituals, which are often false. As the painter, a viewer, and creator of the protagonist inside the painting, I must doubt and re-investigate any so-called truths I arrive at. To that end, I imagine a future world seen through the eyes of a few remaining people, who survive in small packs as hunter-gatherers and are witnesses to the wild beauty and the violence of nature. In the painting, I use quick raw marks to depict ferocious energies unleashed and no longer contained by manmade structures. In my mind’s eye, the protagonists search for signs of the divine in the phenomena they see—and through the act of painting—so do I. They search for settings they believe carry the potential for ritualistic ceremonies and a sense of control and connection. Since they, like us, are limited in their understanding, they are prone to chasing shadows, seeing ghoulish faces, and insert geometry as proof of their devotion. But sometimes they (as I, the painter) stumble on a true supernatural being, who looks at the folly of human endeavors with sadness much like the immortal horses Xanthus and Balius did when standing frozen on the field of battle.
My deeper reason for creating this “story” of humans in a future landscape is multifold: it is my own way to deal with climate grief while trusting in nature’s and humanity’s regenerative powers. I believe that the viewer needs to access a sense of hope in order to not give up in despair but to act out of a need for connectedness with others and with nature. In order to do so, I must first access a mostly intuitive space within me, one that holds mystery and asks me to dig beyond the surface. At the same time, I deeply mistrust the so-called truths we arrive at since they so easily lead to self-delusion. This dichotomy plays out in the work. I have found that I can only reach a deeper knowledge by wading through the muck. My process of painting is that muck from which I pull a reality beyond appearances: I scrape and layer, render and then
obliviate that rendering to reveal an image that teaches me something I didn’t know before in order to create a space that could connect us to what is visionary within all of us, even if temporarily.