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Is this Seeking ….or Finding?
I have come to view my work as a synthesis of the experiences I have when walking through landscape: a culmination of my observations and perceptions of nature. These I combine with layering methods using raw materials that are extracted from the earth and interacting in ways that are inherent to their physical properties (minerals, water, and plant fibers with gravity.) Geologic structures that form on the surface of the earth also occur in smaller scale in the work as layers of material assume shape and form with the force of gravity.
Combining these elemental relationships of materials with memories of landscape creates an “infusion” rather than a painterly depiction. These components help to create a vocabulary that traverses the specificities of time, place, and natural phenomenon. As with the origin of the Greek term phainómenon, “that which appears”, what “appears” in my paintings is the result of extracting aspects, or a temporal essence of an experience, that has, or is, occurring within nature. At times this is more an intuitive recollection or memory. It may also be simply a sensorial response.
Through this synthesis of self, movement, and response, “landscape” becomes a highly personal terrain that is no longer solely a geographical “place”.
When walking through a landscape I often find that a wonderful mirroring of myself takes place, as if the very act of movement becomes a gateway, an opening into perception. As I physically move through a landscape my presence in the landscape is transient. The images that later appear in my work are dependent on the freedom that transience offers. Within that freedom countless subtle and overt experiential remnants, such as memory, sensation, association, et cetera, are drawn from, overlapped, and transferred into the work that takes place in the studio.
Reciprocally, I have developed a working process that is similar to the type of discovery we experience when physically moving through landscape. I try to strike a balance between controlling events as materials interact while spontaneously responding to events that develop before my eyes. The making of a piece becomes a process of discovery akin to moving through an ever-changing landscape, as terrain reveals itself, so reveals the “inner landscape” of an internalized experience.
I am interested in expanding my understanding of “landscape”. The pastoral perspective that had been developing since the 14th century in European landscape painting became a tradition wherein the landscape existed as a backdrop for depictions of human activities, secular and religious. As “scenery”, an appropriately theatrical term, the treatment of landscape as a backdrop set the “stage” for what was considered the more important and dominating theatre of the human narrative. Further treatment of landscape in the periods of Romanticism, Impressionism, and progressively onward, focused more on individualistic expression of subject matter. William Turner, who so poignantly focused on the romantic sublime, figures prominently in my list of influences.
My own interests share aspects of these art movements, but these shared inspirations I now view and develop through the contemporary lens of my own time—informed by my ecological sense of the physical world that belongs to my century. Philosophical and scientific research has observed that what defines one thing, one environmental system, or part of, is never wholly separate from it’s surroundings, and we humans, immersed, are equally intrinsic to the whole.
I’m interested in reflecting human experience “inside” the encompassing environment. If I present a landscape, or part of a landscape, I hope to express the fusion of materiality and the inferred sublime. I try to arrive at a sense of place, or space, that has within it a type of poetic clarity which extends perceptive possibilities beyond a rational descriptive.