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Art has always been a realm of distillation and contemplation for me. It is the place where I process the endless stream of information and images the world is constantly sending our way. This third space, the canvas is the space between the world and me. I see it as a realm of distance, observation, re-configuration where I am free to question and explore the nature of reality.
I have always been obsessed with nature often losing myself in the woods for hours on end as a child. The forest is an endless stream of myriad patterns from bug trails left behind in wood, dry river beds, tree bark and decomposing flora and fauna. This organized chaos has always captivated and enthralled me. As an artist the materials have always had a powerful presence and voice to me. I never wanted to re-create reality on the canvas but rather I wanted to dance with the materials to manifest a concept and contemplation on the world I find myself in. I’ve always seen the materials as a presence and participant in the process. I don’t try to hide the paint or use it create a “magical image” but rather I try to harmonize my ideas with the mediums I am using. In the best paintings the idea I am exploring transcends the materials but the materials also play a part in the painting.
In 2003 I entered a phase of pouring paint. I was inspired by Helen Frankenthaler’s stained canvases and really loved the presence of these pieces. I began getting whatever free paint I could get my hands on and started working on the floor of my studio. I was enamoured with how all the forces of nature could be seen manifest before me. This process incorporated time, gravity, distillation, and allowed me to participate in a kind of dance I’d not experienced in easel painting. As a musician I also liked the rhythm this kind of painting allowed me to experience.
Over time I felt as though I reached the end of what I was able to do with this pouring process and I started seeking some sort of counter balance to the chaos of the pour. I was an avid art student at the time checking out stacks and stacks of books from the art library at my school. I came across a passage where Max Ernst told Jackson Pollock, “An easy way to start a painting is to poke a hole in a can and hang it from a string.” This idea struck me in a powerful way. I affixed that string to the ceiling of my art studio and BAM!!! An incredibly precise spiral was the result. I still have a picture of this original painting and its power is still as present today as it was back then.
Eventually I evolved in this practice to incorporate images from the Hubble Space Telescope. I have always been obsessed with space travel, aliens, ufos and deep space photography. It was a natural progression for me to start more directly referencing these images as the painting process began to echo nebulae, deep space and galaxies. These days I often use the Hubble images as reference material but I never try to replicate the images rather I use them as inspiration, a starting place for the work. I am fascinated by the way the Hubble images are an abstraction of space. They are multiple exposures stacked on top of one another and color corrected to reveal the frequencies of light we cannot see with our normal vision. They are images created from our fixed position and are in effect an snapshot of the universe as seen at that particular time/space. I take this already abstracted, distant image and abstract it once more. This painting process also brings it into our present reality where it can be seen and touched in person. The vastness of the universe becomes human scale which I absolutely love.
Coming from a musical background I also like to incorporate improvisation into my work. Those times that I am not looking at the Hubble images I am taking this technique and following the muse to create new images that may be seen in the same universe as the Hubble images or at times they appear like a photo taken from above the Earth of some geologic formation. At other times they manifest as any number of imagined spaces yet to be seen by the human eye.
In conclusion, this work is a process of participation in relation to the known and unknown universe. I dive deep within myself through my daily spiritual practice and my artwork is an extension of that communion/connection to the Universe. It would be my greatest hope that others would experience that connection as well. I appreciate you taking the time to read these words and check out my art. All the best to you!
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