Artist Statement

‘We are image-makers and image-ridden.’ Phillip Guston

My work principally consists of profoundly abstracted figurecompositions- intuitive constructions that begin with random marks establishing larger masses of torsos, heads and limbs in an undefined setting. The emphasisis almost punitively laid on intuition, supported by a Cezanne-ian will tobuild a picture through a rigorous but tempered structure. The figures are bornof their surrounding environment, emerging only partially and fugitively fromthe mat and scarred layers of pigment. The conflux of figure/ground perhaps owesas much to Avery as to Braque.

A narrative is evident, but never overt. A crown, a shield,a boat, a wheel. Though the subject has recently coalesced around my reading ofDante and Shakespeare, the settings remain extremely vague- a beach, aninterior, a wood. Though often derived from actual scenes in the Inferno orKing Lear, the paintings are, in the end, meditations on the relationship between the protagonists of these classic works.

Work on the multiple figure compositions is accompanied withsmall studies of heads. These heads are always invented and oddly specific.Once such a study is complete (a process that may take years of repainting), I mayrecognize a character from my readings, Richard or The Fool, for example. Irecognize them sometime months after the painting has been finished.

Unadulterated landscapes do materialize in my work. The resultingwork of sincere attempts to paint en plein air each summer inevitably becomesreworked to such an extent in the studio that all reference to an actual motifis lost. Working from life is important to me, but only insofar as itinvigorates a deeply intuitive process. Mimesis is of no interest.

The paintings may be quite large, often eight, ten or twelvefeet in width, and comprised of multiple panels. Or quite small, 6 x 8”. I usea cold wax medium combined with dry pigments, oil paint and embedded fragmentsof burlap. The surfaces eventually build up into a dense, rugged terrain,resembling scorched artifacts from an archeological dig.

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