My recent painting relates to the work of the past several years. The process of distancing myself, changing my perspective to one high above the chaos of the disturbed landscape enables me to paint abstractly but not lose my bearings all alone in space.
As the painting evolves
I imagine a point of view
above the earth
I continue painting. I am an explorer: imagining floating over the land from a great enough distance. Aerial views of battered landscapes, degraded by human-caused disasters become, in pulling back from the chaos, a great beauty, which enables me to envision the absence of human intervention.
DISTURBED LANDSCAPES 2013 - 2015
The people are all gone now except where they wash ashore like branches or other spindly, broken detritus. Tumult ensues: floods from raging creeks and rivers or tsunamis from rising oceans after earthquakes; landscapes disturbed as water recedes. I fly overhead in my imaginary plane soaring in, too close to the jagged cliffs, as I come in for the views. Nothing stays the same on our land. Water changes everything.
WATER AND OTHER DISASTERS: Paintings 2011-2012
In many of my paintings of the last twelve years I’ve depicted images of skirmishes, largely using for visual reference lifted images from movie stills of moments when the scuffle on the street or getaway horses are kicking up dust. That is the visual realm I’ve been interested in capturing. The work has been narrative and always figurative.
In the paintings I’m working on now, I’m thinking about the aftermath of disaster. My working process has changed: my images are evolving on the canvas with thoughts in mind but a free spirit in my approach, using no visual reference except what I can see in the paint I apply to canvas. I think I’m getting more down into the dust now and can see the figures are disappearing altogether in some cases, leaving the rubble of many layers of shapes on the surface.
The series of paintings titled WAT-DIS are new oil paintings depicting water disasters painted on top of old encaustic paintings which had depicted some other type of disaster usually around a skirmish. The scars of the old are visible in the new work.
The change in my process came about from working on monoprints: I print multiple layers on a single image. This has opened up a new way of painting for me. One layer informs the next until the work tells me it’s finished.
ILDI Drawings 2011
SOA e SONA
For the past number of years, I’ve alternated my subject matter within my interest in figurative painting. I’ve painted wistful, playful, isolated figures on the beach with all that implies and I’ve painted figures in turmoil in what I have been calling the skirmish series.
Recently, I came across three or four paintings on paper that I’d done a number of years ago. The idea for this series began ten years ago, in fact. I thought I had shelved it, but something in this work grabbed my attention and these images have reasserted themselves in my consciousness and curiosity.
The two new series are titled SOA e SONA. They are the acronyms I have given the work which sound like a foreign language to me so I decided to go with using the Italian “e” for “and” for a little verbal joke. They refer to the sources I used for these images, which I choose to not disclose since I believe that a visual experience must stand alone, without need for semantic reference. I wish for the viewer to draw his or her own conclusion as to what is going on here.
People on the Beach Series
The paintings of these years represent a preoccupation with the subject of people on beaches with a change of medium from casein on wood to oil on canvas. I am interested in, and impressed by, the presence of people at the beach. It represents play, rest, leisure and pleasure. It’s a wonderful thing to bear witness to, given all the grief, strife and hardship of the lives of so many people on earth. When I see people on the beach no matter who they are, their spirits seem lifted. They are playing or observing others playing.
But there is something else going on here as well: there is an awareness of the aloneness of people. I think the immensity of the sea brings out the isolation and insignificance of the individual. And from my view, the individual seems to sense this, however unconsciously. Time and again I find a certain melancholy and introspection in these moments of play.
2006 - 2009