Artist Statement

Paintings     1999-present

I try to evoke a sense of permanence, solidity, weight: time stopped, essences of ordinary events made tangible. As if I were leaving this life and had to take with me only a few very concrete images, filtered through wry detachment. Not ephemeral, but memory turned into object, monumentalized. However, I understand these paintings as makeshift contraptions, statements of recognition that essences-and memory-must be constructed, invented, not uncovered.

This painted world must be obviously artificial. It reaches toward, not from, life. The characters and objects are geometric solids, their structures and proportions reinvented in tension with the event depicted. Components are disassembled, reassembled so that the actions are non-organic collaborations of parts. (I often paint the elements separately on tracing paper, try out different noses, heads, hands---, then paste them on). I want the mechanisms of my paintings to be fully visible, each painting an index of my painting behavior: measuring, layering, carving, texturing, coloring, pasting.

I want nonspecific viewpoints, a sense of vertigo, so that you are holding each situation in your mind almost as if you are wearing it. Renaissance, isometric, and reverse perspectives interact, visible as systems, not illusions. Structures are often inspired by the paintings of El Lissitsky, Japanese 12th century narrative painting, Chinese landscape painting, and the palace paintings in Udaipur, India. My hope is that the paintings will turn each event depicted into a singular, object-like entity, rather than forms arranged in space. A committee meeting, for example, should demand an entirely different pictorial structure than shoppers in a mall.

These paintings are at once a tribute, affectionate parody, and critique of Renaissance narrative painting.  They reflect a longing for something lost, and a desire for a sense of space and narrative unity more in accord with contemporary concepts of reality.









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