Gallery – Going. Places.

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I’m fascinated by the power in the overlooked drama of things like a sunset over Eagle Rock or a snapshot of my mother on her honeymoon in Paris. My paintings draw attention to the story behind these moments and invite the viewer to fill in the space between surface and subtext, between simple reality and the waking dream of our lives.

I love this passage from Robert Penn Warren’s novel All the King’s Men so much that it has been attached to my studio wall for years:

You could look down the bay…and see the water lifting up into the light as though the horizon had ceased to exist…the line of woods looked black now, not green, above the whiteness of the line which was the beach way over there. A boat was becalmed in that direction, under the sky and over the dark water and against the black line of the woods, you never saw anything so heart-breakingly white as the sharp sail.

I came up to Anne and “Hello.” She lifted her head high for an instant, with the graceful motion a seal has, and smiled, then curled over forward in a clean surface dive. So I turned over and floated about five or six feet from her, and looked up at the sky.

The sky was darker now, with a purplish, greenish cast. The color of a turning grape. But it still looked high, with worlds of air under it. A gull crossed, very high, directly above me. Against the sky it was whiter even than the sail had been. It crossed clear across all the sky I could see.

–All The King’s Men p. 174

The passage describes many of the visual motifs that I explore in my paintings: people in the water, birds and weather as an omen, and the nature of friendship and (perhaps betrayal). Robert Penn Warren’s language is vivid with color: a purple-greenish sky (as a painter, depicting this is a nearly impossible challenge, and so, becomes irresistible); a sail that is heart-breakingly white, woods that turn green to black…his words beg to be painted.

This bit of story also offers some backwards looking melancholy, an emotional zone where narrative figurative painters spend a lot of time hanging out. Who is Anne? Is there a romance involved? Hurt feelings from mismatched expectations seems inevitable. These are concepts that translate well into the ambiguous spaces of paintings. These are the kinds of thoughts that go through my head while creating a painting like “Friends at JFK TWA Hotel”.

The paintings in this show are all executed in oil on aluminum. I love the way light plays off the aluminum, adding highlights and dynamism to the painting. The metal suggests a fresh take on painting and connects the work to manufactured products like cars and appliances.

As I worked on these paintings I realized that a theme kept emerging: an engagement with travel, movement and transformation. The paintings are either set in streets and airports or a turbulent landscape. They are visual stories about movement and discovery set in particular moments of transition.

But mostly I want these images and the stories they depict to literally shine. A painting should be as fun and nourishing as a pizza. Looking at it should be as gratifying as anticipating a delicious slice. Art should delight the eye, the mind and the senses in the way that food gives sensual pleasure.