new paintings |
artist statement |
In the last ten years, travels in Europe and Ireland have had a profound visual effect on my work. Upon returning from that first trip through Ireland, I began a series of paintings initially inspired by feelings and imagery experienced there. These influences were coupled with my own already established love of medieval and gothic forms, historical European religious subject matter, and Irish history. At this time I also began to aggressively explore the use of alternative, often organic materials like wax, tar, wood, and fabric to achieve a more elemental and tactile connection with the work. The exploration of ideas about memory, history, and the passage of time have become an important part of this process.
My paintings often include combinations of anatomical imagery, memorial sculpture, romantic symbolism, and religious iconography. The works are created using deep supports, like boxes, that stand out from the wall and assert themselves in the viewer's space. In many cases, the physical qualities of the work are meant to suggest the physical weightiness associated with monuments and memorial sculpture. Collaged materials, including heavy fabrics and printed matter, contribute to the initial surface of the work. After this weathered, heavily worked, abstract surface is established, it is sealed in a layer of beeswax, and the more figurative elements of the imagery are rendered in tar and varnish. The organic qualities of the wood, wax, and tar communicate a feeling of timelessness. I believe that the processes of building, weathering, eroding and layering are important to the work's identity -- it creates a history that can be traced, investigated, and experienced by the viewer. The materials and processes used emphasize the paintings as visceral objects with an evocative physical presence. Often, these materials are meant to recall and engage the physical body, and with the accompanying image, evoke a meditational response from the viewer. Through a mixed use of painterly languages, these works explore the nature of mortality, express a sense of loss, and address mankind's desire to locate spiritual meaning.