Artist Statement

The central theme of my work is exploring the similarity of being seated within the metaphysical space of the body and of being inside the physical space of architecture. I associate the internal world with the sensation of floating and I represent this by unreliable or suspended gravity. Exaggerated vanishing points document the sense of falling into an abyss or of looking down from a great height. For me, the physical sensation of vertigo is evocative of the sensation of emotional growth. A consistent image in both painting and sculpture is dilated openings. Round holes, rendered elliptical by perspective, open in the ground to reveal sky. This suggests the earth is not a solid sphere but a thin platform: heaven above and heaven  below.

My aesthetic fulcrum is the late 18th century. I feel at home with the period’s colors and characteristic tension between restraint and exuberance. French interiors and furnishings, Italian architecture, colonial silver, and the imaginary botanicals with large flower heads and arabesque leaves on East Indian chintzes delight me.   I like the era’s characteristic juxtaposition of rectangular panels and florid curves, use of birds and animals, gold leaf and font styles.

Many of the paintings in this series have patches of blue-black velvet glued to them. The velvet swallows the light and gives an inky depth I cannot achieve with pigment on the paper. Visually, the spots of velvet provide grounding for the colors and the dubious gravity. Some of the titles are written on silk tissue applied to the paintings. The tissue and velvet bring the paintings closer to the 18th century textiles I adore.

Titles are an important component of my work, even when not visible on the finished piece. The title usually shows up at the inception of the piece and I contemplate the meaning of it while I’m painting. More often than not in this series, the title will be a label glued to the finished painting in a format reminiscent of eighteenth century scientific labeling. When a title doesn’t come to me during the creation of a piece, I use “Untitled” followed in parenthesis by a descriptor. Ladders are on another element that appear regularly in my work. They are solitary or they congregate to form structures; they are straight or they wend into railroads and rollercoasters. I appreciate how ladders allow one to defy gravitational force by providing a means of vertically moving through space.

I cycle between painting and sculpture. Sculpture allows me to move around the piece and literally work on its interior.  When I become frustrated with sculpture’s liability of gravity I switch to painting.  This allows the images to float and swirl in a manner consistent with my experience of emotional reality. And of course, painting gives me access to my great love- color. When I become frustrated with rendering depth and perspective on a flat plane I move back to sculpture. I’m exploring majolica which is giving me the opportunity to combine the two disciplines.

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