In art and in life, I seem to be searching for ways to let the static experience of a single view give way to the ecstatic possibilities of the ephemeral. I make art as a way to explore philosophical and spiritual questions that interest me. Most of my works are visual metaphors that expand or deepen my understanding of the world.
I have a degree in political philosophy and environmental studies and spent the first half of my career working on environmental conservation projects. The natural world continues to inspire me as I look for ways to extend my understanding of our relationship to ourselves, to each other and to the word around us. I studied and continue to study art and art history in the U.S. and Italy and draw inspiration from the power of art’s silence and stillness to convey knowledge.
Here are some more words about each body of work.
Working with the idea of repetition and transformation, these paintings examine what happens to conflict in a non-dual space. Each painting references a pair of characters in physical or metaphysical opposition from art history. The mark making emerges as I draw and re-draw the hands from these conflicts (Jacob Wrestling the Angel for example) over and over again until they are no longer distinguished as separate entities. My goal is to glimpse a third form that offers a view beyond the familiar dance of yes and no.
One of the themes I am currently working with is what defines singularity is totally related to connectivity. For years I have collected scraps of paper from city sidewalks that contain handwriting of some kind. I am drawn to the way these found scraps express an individual hand in time and I am interested how that singular expression might also convey its connection to a larger whole.
How might the transition from one seemingly solid form to another reveal new truths about the world? The Lost Landscape series presents an opening or tearing away from the ordered, but limited world of language, so that another horizon might be revealed. This organic landscape is the foundation upon which all life depends, including the life of the mind.
Blue is the Mind in Borrow Of the Body
These drawings are made one slow line at a time. I like to keep a repetitive drawing practice going in the studio as a way to focus and center myself before beginning other kinds of work. I am inspired by the simplicity of this practice, but what keeps me coming back to it is the experience of watching the whole emerge from the accretion of singular lines. Each drawing is built up slowly over time and each line is influenced in some way by the one that came before it. Nonetheless, I have no idea what the finished drawing will look like until I get there. The title of the series comes from a quote by writer William H. Gass ”Blue is the mind in borrow of the body; it is the color consciousness becomes when caressed.”
World Without End Series
After removing all of the pictorial elements except the sky from a series of antique postcards, I altered the remaining space, inserting universal forms that might evoke the continual return of the world, even after familiar surfaces and scenic views have been stripped away.
In making these works, I was thinking about early Twentieth Century artists like Kazimir Malevich and others who explored ideas about infinity and the fourth dimension by paradoxically working on a two-dimensional surface. Their search assumed that the three-dimensional space we take for granted in everyday life could not lead us to the fourth dimension. Rather, the third dimension and its illusionistic pictorial elements must be subverted in order to provide a clearer view of dimensions that lie beyond our understanding.
Ablution Series Part I
A sink is an object at once empty and full of possibilities, a reminder of the scared in the guise of the everyday. It can be a baptismal font, a place to stack the dishes, a place to wash our hands. On a visit to the prison on Alcatraz Island I was struck by the presence of small white sinks in the otherwise dim light of each cell. As I have worked with these forms over the years they have taken on various meanings and relationships to the surrounding environments becoming at once portals to the flow of life and reminders of the fragility of the human body.
Ablution Series Part 2
These paintings extend my interest in the changing nature of form to a more open field of possibility. I suppose the paintings in this series are abstractions but they are also paintings of possibility—a place where forms find the first hints of resonance. I am interested in creating a beautiful resistance in these paintings in the way that Giorgio Agemben describes resistance: as an impediment to potentiality’s blind rush to complete itself.
Fire, Water & Paper: Smoke Ensos
Traditionally made with sumi-e ink, and completed in one stroke with one breath, the enso is considered to be a complete expression of the present moment and the mind state of the hand that created it.
To make this set of ensos, I relied on the unpredictable elements of water and smoke (created by setting fire to the handles of old paint brushes). The work turned into a collaboration of sorts between my hand and the ever-changing nature of these elements. Each piece is an expression of all of these forces at work during one moment in time.
I collaborate with forces inside and outside the studio to make images that explore my own shifting understanding of “the self”. In the past I have worked with rain and wind and a seasonal leak in the studio. My one rule: never force, always coax these collaborations into being. The self-portraits in this series are made with dust and debris from my studio floor. Each portrait represents the accumulation of dust from one particular day. I cut a stencil and use a spray adhesive on mylar to collect the dust and to cast a shadow into each image.
“After great pain, a formal feeling comes—“
— Emily Dickinson
Against the backdrop of climate change and ecological shift, we find the horizon—a formal place of distance and reflection. These paintings are a response to vanishing landscapes. They are also a meditation on horizons: What lies beneath the surface of what we know? Like many of us, I have been reflecting and wondering about the world and its unending propensity for change. My intention with this work is to offer a pause where we might feel, not just the pathos, but also the mystery that accompanies all loss and transformation.