ARTIST STATEMENT: I always begin a painting abstractly. In my past work, human or animal forms would often emerge from abstract shapes to dominate a composition. Recently, however, I have been ignoring overtures from birds, women, and three-legged dogs and have been keeping the forms abstract instead. I am intrigued by the possibilities that emerge when I decline to allow a painting to take on a literal meaning or storyline. My current painting process is based on working with forms—separating, merging, and layering them—until they have gained some substance. As one dominant shape begins to emerge, its composite elements continue to flow freely throughout, binding that shape to its surroundings and diagramming their correspondences. By allowing simple shapes to dominate, to become subjects of paintings, I feel more able to examine subtle states of being and mind.
I began working this way while at a one-month painting residency in Butte, Montana. Butte is a beaten town sitting against an expansive landscape of vast beauty—and they are not separate from each other. Walking down streets in Butte I felt constantly pulled by the interplay of deep, opposing feelings: light and shadow, expansion and fear, industry and exhaustion, vibrant energy and sullen abandonment. Working abstractly allowed me to examine the subtle mingling of these deep feelings and the state of being that their interplay creates. This state of being feels to me like the human condition.