Nature is my greatest lure and muse. Painting in the landscape is where I am happiest and gain the most inspiration. To gain the experiential, I begin every painting possible from life, in the tradition of plein air painting. It is vital for me to step into the landscape and be with the trees and plants and minute signs of life and ask, what is our place here? Then I continue to synthesize the experience in the studio.
The narratives may appear haunting. They intend to serve as a reminder of our temporary place here as humans. We are not permanent, nor invincible. Death is the Great Unifier. Time passes so quickly and we are here so briefly, what will we leave behind as a marker of our time? I am visually exploring the nature of impermanence, a belief that nothing remains constant. My focus has solidified into an exploration of existence as a constant state of metamorphosis.This has become the impetus for metaphorical narratives defined by the juxtaposition of diverse visual elements.
I am a visual scavenger; collecting and weaving together layers of a place. My process involves creating and documenting interactions between figures and landscapes.Although sometime, landscapes unpeopled, theydepict evidence of their passing.Painting outdoors makes me feel vitally aware and alive. It is a sort of athletic event and when the painting emerges after an intense session, there is a sense of satisfaction in carrying it back like a fisherman with a fresh catch. In the studio, informed by these collected images and experiences, is time for reflection and synthesis into larger finished works. Finally, a gallery space is a place to transform and create new experiences. Paintings, found and made objects, with additional site-specific elements are woven together to tell a story. All together, these elements provide physical and visual links between the paintings.
For a decade now I have been visiting a poet friend in Iowa’s Loess Hills. These consecutive summers month-long retreats have allowed for uninterrupted time painting outdoors, resulting in studies that have become the subject of new studio work. This area of rugged bluffs 100 milesfrom where I grew up with it’s hilly and natural prairie has had a profound impact on me and has changed my perceptions of my home state. While visiting Iowa I also spend time at my father’s working farm. I find the juxtaposition of these two subtly different worlds fascinating: the one, a life of preservation while living in unity with the environment; and the other, relying on the earth for sustenance. Painting outdoors in the summer enveloped by the natural world, serenaded by the elements, I feel flooded with energy. All the while, painting on my father’s working farm, I must be literally prepared to move out of the way of progress at a moments notice. Additionally, a clear difference resides between the two places. In 2014, my father’s farm was leveled by a tornado that in seconds wiped out years of existence, layers of visual memory along with two large Sycamore trees. Luckily, no one was hurt. And, they had the ability to rebuild. They now have a new home and out buildings. Although these new structures are highly functional, their prefab pressboard facades are void of the psychic energy and stories held by those old ancient structures like the shed.