My artwork represents a longstanding belief in the possibility of translating human experience and feeling through the raw materials of painting. For quite some time I have been probing an artistic vein in which naturalistic forms shape-shift inside an abstract color space. The figuration is rooted in the human body, and more specifically, the links between brain and viscera. The physicality of working large allows the body to override the brain; only then does the door open to serendipity. When successful, the imagery and the materials combine to create a psychological and emotional charge with the viewer.
I don’t think of myself as a figurative painter, and yet figuration clearly looms large in these paintings. Indeed, this body of work belongs to an ongoing series titled “Twisted Figures”, a play on both the literal meaning of twisted (coiled, torqued, wrung) and the non-literal (warped, unstable, abnormal). I’m not interested in narratives, but I am interested in the potential for metaphor. I think of these paintings as of the body and embodiments of… They are very physical in their making, visceral in appearance, and suggest a figure under intense stress, embattled, and thus very much of our world.
These paintings are all acrylic on cotton duck canvas. I mix my own paint using pigment dispersions and raw polymer base purchased from Guerra Paint and Pigment. This allows tremendous control and flexibility over variables of saturation and viscosity. The canvas is initially stretched onto panels constructed from hollow core doors. This solves the problem of the canvas sagging towards the center when painting on the floor. Small casters are attached to the bottom of the bigger pictures so I can move them around the studio. After many coats of gesso primer that result in a colored ground, highly diluted paint is poured and brushed onto the surface, creating transparent washes. What results is half accident, half intent. In response to the initial “pour”, I look for opportunities to create a dynamic between transparency and opacity, flat and volumetric. All lines and edges are executed freehand. Some of these pictures have a dozen or more iterations underneath them, which sometimes show through as shadowy ghosts. Other pictures sit idle for many months after the initial pour, and then arrive fairly quickly at their final state without much revision. Increasingly, I have used Photoshop to help with decision making.