Good fiction, while by definition “untrue,” nevertheless
elicits human empathy due to its emotional believability. My work strives for this quality while
maintaining a stubbornly artificial appearance. I liken it to the stylization and exaggeration found in
theater or silent film.
My current work owes a great deal to a series of landscape
paintings I began almost a decade ago in which a forest functioned as a
metaphor for several exasperating realities simultaneously: the failure to
communicate and connect with people, my increasing belief in art’s ineffectual
engagement with the spiritual, and a vague feeling of dread concerning
environmental degradation. So,
forests were always sets with trees acting as props, but the attempt then was
never to construct a complete allegory but rather a container for my own
incomplete thoughts, frustrations, and inspirations.
While much of the forest imagery has fallen away, other
props have enabled me to expand my visual language and continue producing
absurdist vignettes. Blunt symbols
of inaccessibility such as fences and walls are mixed with others denoting
endless space such as clouds, and still others implying the illusion of that
space—mirrors. These elements are never particular but iconic. Graphic form,
found serial imagery culled from collage sources, and a limited, high-contrast
palette are all used to both simplify and emphasize the artificial, even
cartoon-ish, quality of the images.
At the same time accumulation of line and pattern deny that simplification,
creating retinal discomfort and often obliterating the distinction between
figure and ground.
The resulting destabilization of picture space sets the
stage for a ripe blend of melodrama and dark comedy, where figuration and
abstraction vie for the upper hand and optical illusion gains emotional
resonance. These works aim to
reinvigorate certain visual tropes in the service of investigating what a
spiritual quest for meaning might look like in a thoroughly contemporary idiom.