Glowing Cloud

Artist's Statement

The single most distinctive aspect to what I do as a landscape painter lies in my ability to reduce a scene to its essentials. This gives the viewer what is important, without the distraction, or visual clutter, of too much detail. Both by providing this overview and by using soft, scumbled edges, these paintings can quiet a viewer's mind and evoke a more direct response.

My version of minimalism is about shape and atmospherics. I paint not just the light, but the air itself, and how these affect the edges and colors of the scenes depicted.

As a non-regional landscape painter, I use images from all over the world, the many places I have been. With the right atmospherics, anything and everything can reflect a powerful beauty — from smokestack at sunset or headlights on a road to a moody thunderstorm at sea. Nearly everything I paint could exist in nature, yet most often it does not. Some of my pieces are very much about a sense of place and weather, while others speak more to formal or conceptual art making issues. I am often thinking about painterly concerns such as line, color, shape, and surface, which, following the ideas set forth by Kandinsky in "Concerning the Spiritual in Art", have direct emotional power of their own. There is also a process of continually evaluating and editing the image—what is essential? What is superfluous? The painting as a whole is what this is all about, rather than precisely and exactly capturing a given landscape.

For these reasons, I see myself as being closer to the color field paintings of Rothko than to traditional or plein air landscape painters.

More recent bodies of work deal with not only my different perspectives on what defines beauty and power in the landscape, but also with alternative viewpoints on process and presentation. To stay within the confines of the same explorations for years on end is, I feel, a sort of artistic napping. Therefore, in some pieces of these newer series my work—always aiming to both soothe and provoke—encourages more questions on the part of the viewer.

The multiple panel and multiple image pieces refer to one of my formative artistic areas of joy and comfort, the postmodern use of the grid and serial imagery. So, moving from Rothko to Agnes Martin, Chuck Close, or Louise Nevelson, these pieces have their narrative contained and framed by the grid of the frame, creating rhythm and movement to carry the story along.

In a newer series, I work on or with found objects – antique boxes, distressed cupboard doors, old slate blackboards with lovely stains and unravelings at the rim, vintage sifters, and the like. When using these objects, I adjust both my choice of imagery and the way I compose and lay in the paint to honor what is already there. I see these pieces as a collaboration between my accumulated skills and the accumulation of history that is manifested in this unique object. This feels like process that is both conceptual and deeply intuitive.

My most recent exploration, the Affinity series, with the frayed edges of the linen and graphite gridding, bring the viewer deeper into the inventions of art-making by the creation of a support that has surface interest that is not a literal part of the scene depicted. The image must, however, have an affinity for the graphite gridding and the frayed edges of the linen by either having strong linear, often manmade elements, or by being very abstract. These pieces also impart a visual discussion about focal points that goes against the traditional notions of atmospheric perspective in landscape painting. Elements, chosen by a logic intrinsic to the piece as it progresses, are emphasized by greater or lesser blurring, by heightening contrast, and by selective replacement of the gridding that I began with and painted over.

All of my work has a sense of being suspended between two breaths. Often, that feeling is palpable during the process of creation. Time is slowed, perhaps even halts for a moment, allowing us to see the world in all of its fullness.