I’m obsessed with history and I think about the marks that previous humans have left on the land, on our culture, and in the collective unconscious.
The land cradles the present but also bears traces of the past. Scratches of sustenance. Attempts at empire. Impositions of order. Rebellion. Declarations of independence. Reconquest. Neglect. Decay. Decline.
In my work, I engage in a process that mirrors that historical time. I rarely begin with a strong conception of the final work will be. Initial, spontaneous marks are free flowing and optimistic. As the work progresses, the tension mounts. I react to earlier layers and begin to wrestle with the cacophony of voices on the canvas. As I try to bring the piece to a resolution, it takes more courage, as each successive brushstroke could bring the painting into balance…or kill it.
I find myself drawn to the physical materials – paint, pastel and paper – as much as the conceptual ideas behind the work itself. In the popular imagination, artists first conceive of a BIG IDEA and then they try to flesh out in their art. I’m sure some artists work this way, but for me, the process is more akin to jazz than construction.
Which is to say, that painting for me is first and foremost about a love affair with paint, what it does, how it works and how it feels. Sure, there are some big ideas are in there. But they can be vague, and might only reveal themselves over time. In the meantime, it’s a pretty picture, and that’s ok.
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