• I would consider myself an abstract painter insofar as my work is the product of an intuitive, improvisatory process, and is not an attempt to represent any concrete place or thing. Even so, it’s clear that my work engages with many familiar visual themes. Familiar because they are part of us – all the structures around us and inside us: The structures of veins, bones, plants, and all organic, growing things. I think these “soft” structures have become part of our cultural, visual heritage. Recent avant-garde architecture reflects this connection: The work of Frank Gehry, Santiago Calatrava and Tom Maynes, to give three examples, shows us how the organic structure can inform the structures we live and work in.

    This organic imagery also shows up in recent movies – aliens and monsters as embodiments of deviant organic structures. An example of this would be the work of Guillermo del Toro. I guess this would relate to the notion that we are fascinated as well as repelled by the organic: That familiar and healthy processes, such as growth, birth, death and decay, can threaten to become twisted and dark in our imaginings (one of my favorite movies of all times is “A Zed and Two Noughts” by Peter Greenaway. A very disturbing and fascinating movie. . .)

    Naming paintings has become more interesting to me. I think the title is important to the experience of looking at a painting. If you look at the title, then look at the work, the two actions create a symbiosis of experience. Sometimes I want to name paintings after songs that were important to me. For example, “Cult Inside of Me,” is named after a song by the group “Purity Ring.” (Actually the song is called “Saltkin” but that line starts the song). I loved the idea that what’s inside me, (and everyone), all the veins and blood and organs, are like a cult which we can’t control, which have their own nefarious ends.

    And to take this idea farther, I am becoming more open to the idea that language (writing) and imagery can interact in a painting. I was trained in school to think of abstract painting in a formal way – that is, to believe that an abstract painting could be pleasurable, even transcendent, but only through its formal properties; its color, composition, etc. But, my favorite artist of all time is Paul Klee, whose work can be a formal exercise in, say, colored squares, but whose most fascinating work is some kind of a crazy cross between writing, child’s drawing, and slippery images of all kinds – and of course abstract properties as well. I’ve also (re) discovered Miro’s particular strain of symbol/abstraction. Also, I’ve become interested in Inuit art, wherein, on a flat surface, symbol and abstraction seem to coexist beautifully.

    Other artists who’ve been important to me are: Diebenkorn, de Kooning (late work particularly), Twombly and Guston, Elizabeth Murray and Susan Rothenberg, Terry Winters, Joanne Greenbaum, Thomas Nozkowski, Amy Sillman, Charlene von Heyl, and the sculptors Martin Puryear and Leonardo Drew. I look at Puryear’s work a lot – there’s an amazing balance in his work between the solid and the translucent, the simplest forms weighted by the deepest meanings.

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