I am drawn to the ability of abstract imagery to express the universal spirit of humanity and to reflect spiritual principles like beauty, creativity, patience and perseverance. These symbols, geometric shapes, patterns and marks hold potential to give voice to a connection to something larger than the self, and provide a forum for discussions about our spiritual relationship to the divine. It is an art that comes from the heart, a kind of meditative experience and invitation into the unknown. They have little relationship to the outside world but, rather, portray the force and power of the human spirit. For me, creating them is an ecstatic experience, a form of communication that conveys an understanding of existence.
An author I once heard speak, talked about writing as filling quiet time, and said it was like digging a well and waiting for it to fill with water. I was struck by this description of the creative process and relate it to the way I work: I don’t wait to be inspired or carefully plan a piece with preliminary drawings, I just work and intuitively guide the work to its completion. In this way, I work with dynamic interactions and complexity while using images as vehicles of consciousness and silent thinking.
These paintings expand on the visual language I developed in my Density and Night Circuit series. The patterns mimic those of the high-rises, slums, and shacks crammed into the picture plane as seen in the Density pieces, while also referencing the aerial views and circuit-like structures found in the Night Circuit paintings. However, this suite of paintings differentiates itself from those previous works in that they are quiet, meditative and introspective. They talk about an emotional interior world versus tensions in an exterior world. Despite the shifts in color, forms and lines, these works manage to negotiate complex boundaries and maintain an overall unity, harmony and balance. They are about complex relationships that rely on differences and similarities to form a cohesive whole and systems of interconnectedness and coexistence.
These works are about resolving formal visual problems, and are also personal metaphors for rising above loss and turmoil to achieve a new, positive outcome.
I use landscapes to focus on the crisis our planet faces by juxtaposing ideas of natural-occurring landscapes sandwiched between images of jam-packed cityscapes, slums and ghettos. My intention is to create a tension between notions of the strength, beauty and endurance of nature; and, the man-made exploitation of our natural resources. I paint expansive desert-like landscapes and surround them with windows of impacted congestion to emphasize how we are destroying diversity and creating a planet of homogeneity. These works examine how the borders between natural climates and habitable space have been blurred. In these works, I explore a notion of integrating a variety of materials including acrylic, Prismacolor and collage to express an experience or observation. One of the components of these paintings is digital prints created from images found online, in magazines and newspapers employed as collage elements.
These works also express my emotional response to a poverty of sprawl and manmade chaos, and are personal metaphors for loss and isolation.
This body of work is an exploration of the night, a world of light and shadow. Some works are inspired by the night sky and its vastness and mystery. Others consider how artificial and natural light transform the night landscape, and how perception is altered, imagination triggered, and emotions heightened. A tree may become a sinister being or foliage playful beautiful forms bejeweled by light.
I am intrigued by the energy a city creates, and how the night emphasizes the way a city stretches up and out, defining itself by light. The images in the “Night Circuit” series are aerial views of a city described by light. The title is also a play on words: night circuit describes human activity and also alludes to the images’ complexity of color and form. The images in the “Night-Cityscape” series were inspired by visits to cities such as San Francisco and Seattle and not only explore how a city interrupts the night landscape, but the interaction of a city’s light on bodies of water.
Together all of these approaches celebrate the wonder, mystery and beauty of the night.
Contemporary society is bombarded by visual images. This is most notably found on the internet, but also extends to television, print media and film. The inspiration for this body of work arose from that phenomenon. I am interested in how the juxtaposition of seemingly unrelated images has the potential to create a new visual language. In this series of mixed media works, my intention is to depict everyday images in new and often menacing relationships, or dreamlike states that often allude to an obscure plot. Balanced compositions are offset by contrasting images of heads, smiles, arms, legs, hands and other body parts, common objects, people engaged in activities such as singing or dancing, animals, numbers, painted or drawn gestures and muted color. The combination of these elements not only adds up to strange, erotic, ambivalent and sometimes ominous scenes, but contributes to an overriding feeling of entropy. Things are falling apart as much as they are coming together, and organization often degrades into randomness and chaos. It is this dichotomy of organization and randomness, and how the human mind attempts to make sense of, find relationships between, or formulate a narrative from, unrelated images that most interests me and informs these works.
I view this work as a search for images that portray moments and experiences with nature. It celebrates my deep, ancestral love of the land, nature’s amazing vitality and variety, and exposes my encounters with natural forces, one of which is water.
Some works reflect remembrances of my childhood growing up in a small, coastal, rural town surrounded by the sea, forests, fields, streams, lakes, rivers and wild creatures. Others point to easily dismissed or overlooked elements in our lives: the magic of finding a nesting bird; the elaborate task honey bees undertake to build their hives and the power they wield as a collective society; the wonder of putting a seed in the earth, having it grow and produce food. My work is about this wonder and the fragility and preciousness of all life forms. For me, the images are also metaphors for my struggles to balance my roles in the natural world and in the complex world of technology, as well as my search for a more basic, natural way of living - a life that depends upon a dynamic balance.
Other work is inspired by my involvement with planting and restoring the gardens around our home and studios. Many images such as ladybugs, birds, dragonflies and bees are references to some of the life found in and around the garden. Some images echo my experiences in nature growing up in rural New England, while others quote memories of things I wish were in the garden such as amphibians, which were plentiful when I was a child, and are now rare, endangered.
I like to create images that talk about my personal moments in nature: the rhythm of the ocean, the music of spring water rushing through a gorge, the magic of working the land, the way the night sky moves us and binds us to the universe, the incredible power of the elements. I like to use images that reflect my direct experiences of nature.
I often juxtapose repeating shapes, which suggest basic building units, and textures derived from nature with abstract patterns and more realistic images. My canvases may also include other contemporary symbols, pure painterly play, and references to the landscape, to evoke again the emotional power of their primal origins and importance. My intention is to create a play of similarities and differences, contradictions and affirmations, which examines the link between memory and image, image and meaning, meaning and power.
The inspiration for these paintings arose from my interest in maps and mapping that began with my series of works, “Night Circuits.” I am interested in the visual power of images derived from mapping that are outside the strict constraints of geography. Mapping is about abstract relationships: the creation of a kind of intellectual space, a rich quiet place that engages reason and stimulates imagination.
I am intrigued with beginnings and endings, organizing and systematizing visual information, and metaphorical extensions of map conventions. These maps, rather than establishing boundaries, show how arbitrary and flexible they really are. The viewer must find his or her own boundries. Some pieces can be seen as derivative of aerial views of geographical information, some as maps of neuronal connections, some as systems of symbols that may represent assigned or secret meanings and yet others as celestial charts.
All in all, these works express my personal investigations and private journeys.