There is an entire world in the luxe, multi-layered surface of an oil painting. Each canvas is a document of daily living bound up and fossilized in the lovely chemistry of the paint skin. Some painters fawn over their materials, going on and on about the smells and sensations, how they are “in love” with paint. I confess to being such an artist. I could work on one canvas for the rest of my life and never truly be finished, adding layer after layer of thick texture, and then sanding it down into a hazy blur. With each layer that is added, paradoxically, life is uncovered. Characters appear, complex relationships play out before me, and I feel an ardent devotion to their well-being; each encounter feels extraordinary and unique.
My work combines two methods of paint handling: complex layers of abstraction with selected areas of realistic rendering. Creating a focal area of light and shadow is how I recognize the personhood of the floating creatures that populate my work.
Painting is … unearthing or unmasking the sentient beings that are embedded in scribble and abstraction. It is an obsession to find out who is in there. I have to know. They communicate something vital about human existence. Painting is a repeated exercise of unearthing them, separating them from an entanglement of thick paint texture, sanding, scraping, extracting them one by one. There is a point when a painting ceases to be a project or an academic endeavor – when materials become ‘someone’.
The characters that appear in my work are the encoded puppetry of my most guarded inner dialog. They are the darlings of pure abstraction.