I am interested in the dialogue between the inner and the outer,
between the seen and the felt, and how this dialogue transpires in paint,
in plastic form. I am interested in tensions that occur between various
aspects of the situation, between the visual and the tactile, between body and space,
between form and light, between movement and stillness, and the way these tensions
can lead to a wholeness. I am interested in painting as a means of exploring
various ways of relating to the world in which I find myself.
August 10, 1998
What is the nature of desire? How does it function in vision?
What is the nature of presence? Of absence?
What is this unexpected presence found in the seeming absence?
What does it mean, this experience of sitting in a room and watching the light enter,
filling the space?
Falling on an empty chair, falling on a woman’s body.
The nature of light as caressing, as enlightening and revealing form.
The nature of light as overbright, as glaring and breaking down form.
While working from observation, while interrogating the objective world,
I am interested in giving room and invitation to the range of my changing subjectivity,
and watching how the variety of responses affect the dialogue formally,
creating various means of translation, of markmaking and plastic involvement.
July 15, 2001
My paintings are usually done in suites, ranging from five or six paintings to sometimes over a dozen in each suite. Each set of works focuses on a particular situation of an interior with slight shifts in the positioning of the furniture, triggering subtle shifts in my perception of the relationships between them. Each suite also shares a particular palette, a particular set of colors and tonal relationships specific to that interior during a season with its own specific light. Aside from some works being larger and some smaller, the approach may also vary from painting to painting. One work may focus on the architecture of the furniture and the marking may be more closely resolved and tighter. Another work may have its emphasis more on the spaces between the physical objects and the marking may be more open, broader and more painterly. There is a range that I am interested in exploring with each situation. Some compositions take in the larger situation of the whole room while others work more as a close up on a specific area, coming in to focus. In addition to the bare interiors, within each suite I usually paint one or two paintings which include a figure as means of heightening the sense of presence and absence. Further, interspersed with the paintings is an ongoing series of drawings, both in pencil and charcoal. The drawings are not preparations for the paintings as such, but rather work to develop a relationship with the various spaces and furnishings. They allow a kind of intimacy to develop with what may lie within these places. The drawings also vary in approach from a more delicate hand to a more forceful and aggressive mark.
June 29, 2005
My painting occurs in relation to presence – the presence in a room, in between things, in open space, in light. It is this quality of presence, always available within the phenomenal world, which my work investigates. I am interested in how this sense of presence shifts and adjusts as our experience of the world changes, in a daily way, from hour to hour and moment to moment; an ontological inquiry through a dialectic of the objective and the subjective. How does the attempt at the representation of presence and the accompanying form change as our apprehension of presence changes? How does a painting language change to accommodate those aspects of our changing subjectivity? Additionally, there is the parallel and interconnected problem of the work achieving and embodying its own presence, not merely as a reflection, but as an extension, adding to the fabric of the world. To the extent that this is achieved, the work may perform reflexively, focusing our attention back to the phenomenal world, in a state of inquiry and attention.
While painting I am in a three-way dialogue, between the piece of the world that I am observing, my inner subjective response, and the accretion of marks and formal needs of the painting. I am exploring the world in front of me, a still life, flowers, an empty room with a few chairs, perhaps a person sitting. As I continue this investigation I find that there are different modes of transaction and translation, different modes of painting language that conjure up differing experiences of presence. When these different modalities are juxtaposed, as for example, distinct canvases within a triptych, they create a synergy of presence that I find not available by any one of them alone.
The resultant appearance of the work may be seen as a postmodern attempt at the investigation of the juxtaposition of different painting languages. But my interest lies more directly in the investigation and apprehension of a pre-conceptual sense of presence; and in that sense my theoretical interests lie more in phenomenology than post-structuralism.
I believe it is through the identification of the self with a pre-conceptual and pre-linguistic sense of being that actual change occurs. While our identification remains within the confines of discursive thought and language our model of the world remains one of fragmentation and conflict. Language isn’t to blame – it’s just the way it works. Actual change occurs through a shift in our identification of the self and the growing awareness of the essential and indivisible fabric of reality. It is to an investigation of this sheer presence, which is not only pre-conceptual but also resides before and between form, that my work is committed.
Let me put it this way. I’m interested in the difference between a visual exploration and tactile one (or at least the imagined/remembered visually-projected tactile one), and the various ways they combine and conflict. As our sensory experience grows and accumulates it can lead us further into trance or, if we pay close attention, can lead us back through, outside in, so to speak – back to actual reality, existence, consciousness, life. Truth lies in between form.
My interest is in what is before, between and within form. What is invisible and embodied by form? And how do we access it through form?
I am a painter. I make through drawing and painting. I look at things, people, places – and paint from observation. I paint situations. I paint these situations in different ways, different modalities, different attitudes. When I present the work I juxtapose these different attitudes and modalities, one panel next to another. What occurs when I turn from one version to another is what most deeply interests me — what the work is actually about. What happens when my mind goes from one image to another, one form to another, one attempt to another, of the same motif, the same situation? As my mind works to reorient itself to the next iteration, back and forth between one image and back to another, there is the possibility of noticing the in-between, of my mind slipping underneath and within and before form. No one panel, iteration, attitude, attempt, painting, drawing, is the true one, the real one, the master version. What is attempted is to tease out, point towards, the presence that is between, under, before, within, after form – even as form gives pleasure, entertains, and moves the heart and mind and body.