I am interested in painting’s unique characteristics to visualize and engage with subjects that can’t be pictured by other means. My process is highly influenced by lived experiences and observations, from Berlin as a Fulbright fellow, to participating in artists residencies, to routinely seeing the latest contemporary exhibitions and immersing myself in current events. I funnel my evolving backstory and interests into the context of my studio practice to find essential meaning as a language of response, engaging with the history of painting within a ritualistic framework.
“Synchronized Mirror” is a series of paintings featuring a centrally positioned synchronized swimmer and her reflection, within a patterned backdrop. Nearby, and in repeating symmetrical positions are grasses protruding from the water, as well as their reflections, whose forms echo the approximate relationships of the different sets of swimmers’ legs. United by stylized mimicry and reflection, the forms seem to be hovering, suspended in space, iconic symbols that reference something that can almost be named, but remains elusive. Seen together, these works possess an uncanny whimsy, suggesting a symbolic language akin to tarot cards.
“Mirror Cloud” began as a grey-scale exploration of weather patterns and reflections. As something calm and contemplative that explores subtle gradations, it is a response to the bravado of the outside world that paints everything in black and white. The cloud motif repeats as horizontal ribbons, growing larger in scale and darker in value as the pattern moves top to bottom. This is an in-between domain, whether populated or vacant, where fractured kaleidoscoping slices uncanny borders between internal and external spaces. The blended pattern of the clouds is in contrast to the sharp edges of the lines, creating a visual refraction suggestive of optical focal lines in analog camera lenses. Weather surrounds and manifests the figure within an hourglass, suggesting the passage of time within a torso, and the posed figures merge with their reflections, becoming elongated effigies, indelibly interconnected with the world they inhabit.
This body of work comes from my attraction to the unique landscape of the swamp. As a continuously unpredictable environment, the swamp’s changing atmospheres and the forms that dwell within it, became perfect subjects to explore my own language of abstraction and metamorphosis. Both foreign and familiar, the grasses and cypress stumps became a lexicon of hieroglyphs. Moving beyond direct experience into memory and invention, the relationships in the swamp become suggestive, at times tipping into realms of psychedelia, symbols of coats of arms, or ritual drawings for protection.
“Selvage” is an on-going series that developed as a way to use up leftover paint from palettes mixed for other paintings, and as a way to bring knowledge gained from formative quilt-making experiences into my painting process. Making these geometric abstractions based on a “barn-raising” quilt pattern serve as ritualistic and spiritual counter-points to representational subjects in my other work. As colorist investigations, they are optical systems rooted in traditions of textile; like a mandala, the process becomes a method to detach and “clean the slate” before the next painting. I use the same pattern as an under-drawing, and make half of each painting lighter, and the other half darker so that overarching patterns emerge depending on the arrangement of the individual panels. This modular painting is meant to be hung together in a variety of interchangeable arrangements, but single paintings can also stand alone. Together, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
The landscape paintings in this portfolio denote a range of interests in representing views of where the built and natural worlds meet. Each painting starts with a direct personal connection to a particular place, experienced first-hand. In these moments, I identify and memorize the visual components of my experience, such as how a tree and a roofline meet up just so, or how trees line a field as seen from the train. After going over the relationships in my mind for anywhere from a couple hours to several days, I record my recollection as a drawing. From there, I develop each painting intuitively, re-organizing components of the composition that speak to the original connection that I felt by measuring lines and removing non-essential forms, distilling the key elements into clarified environments. Roger Brown's use of pattern and symbolism in his landscapes, Ann Craven's serial paintings of the landscape, and Charles Burchfield's representation of the spiritual in his landscapes also play important roles.