Someone once relayed a comment to me about one of my paintings that went something like this: “It’s a phone…”
Well to that I say, « Ceci n’est pas une téléphone. », a fascinating distinction to make for sure, between reality and our interpretation of it. I think out of habit and indifference, we often take an idea at face value and accept it as truth without much examination.
It’s an important evolutionary skill to be able to judge automatically in the case of life or death situations, as well as having an overall efficiency in processing concepts. Nonetheless, to examine and interpret life is our utmost task as humans. We have the outstanding capacity to give meaning to existence through deciphering it and creating more of it.
We can deny this task and merely exist, but in doing so we reject our potential and our integrity. To live with integrity as a human is to create more reality by using the meaning you give to existence. One of the ways I seek to live with integrity is through creating and interpreting art.
“To be creative means to be in love with life. You can be creative only if you love life enough that you want to enhance its beauty, you want to bring a little more music to it, a little more poetry to it, a little more dance to it.” – Osho
To love is to respect the object of your affection (in this case, life) so much as to commit to knowing and nurturing it. In this process of love, of understanding life and nurturing it, we have near approaches and full on encounters with the truth. To reflect these efforts in my artistic interpretation, I maintain a representational style that ranges from realism to sub-realism.
While in the positive space in my work I seek to represent what humans can currently observe, I regularly employ the negative space to call attention to that which we are still seeking. One example of this I find intriguing is that astrophysicists have confirmed that for every particle that exists, there is also an anti-particle (matter and anti-matter). This being substantiated, we currently detect an imbalance- we see an overwhelming majority of matter to antimatter. So where is the antimatter? – But perhaps an even more important question, “Does it really matter?”
Well it doesn’t. Not right now anyway. It is unimportant to me or anyone else that the fabric, metal, wood, and oil in my work potentially have counterparts to themselves in the form of anti-fabric, anti-metal, anti-wood, and anti-oil because they are imperceptible. If at some point we can see them, maybe a future artist will use them to make an anti-sculpture, and this will be a new truth in the world. But for now I use matter that our predecessors have already observed and extracted from the natural world. I am thankful for this, and in my appreciation I have given the resources meaning as follows.
- Fabric is the network of biology and culture that creates and restricts us. Its existence is adaptable, yet constant. It can easily bend, stretch, fold, and crumple while never changing its true nature. Its existence is fragile and short. It can be burned, torn, frayed, and it disintegrates fairly quickly. Using fabric as clothing, we simultaneously express ourselves and hide ourselves.
- Metal is our physical environment, the stable world we cling to.
- Wood is the plant and animal life that we so enjoy and need, and admire.
- The oil paint is our thoughts and actions we take. Every brush stroke is a choice that remains to create the whole.
These elements allow us to thrive in our time between the cradle and the grave. The more we use our time to learn and create; the more truth and life there will be for all to subsist.
I was first influenced by French post-impressionism, specifically Van Gogh and Toulouse-Lautrec. Their quotidian subjects, vibrant palates, and loose brush strokes resonated in me as a sort of freedom and joy with a tormented undercurrent- the ability to be happy in the moment while still striving for more. My use of mixed media began in “The Organization” in which I incorporated aluminum and paper into the oil painting. The flatness in the piece spawned from my attraction to Matisse’s fauvist masterpiece, “The Dessert: Harmony in Red”. My use of flatness in a painting represents the two dimensionality of our existence through consciousness and the efforts to substantiate and project our thoughts and feelings into a three dimensional reality.
I’ve lately been expressing these concepts through depicting the athlete. I don’t do sports as often as I did as a child due to health issues, but my present light athleticism and my memories of doing sports, have prompted the recent focus of the human experience. I see doing a sport as a sister to the act of creating/producing. Both are actions that set our brain into the flow state of mind. While we are doing these actions, our mental focus is outstanding. We rapidly manipulate and react with no room to doubt or ponder. When it’s over, we can see the results, feel the exhaustion and renewal, then reflect, judge, and plan to do it differently next time. For those of us who choose life over existence, these processes can provide instant gratification- we act, the object of our action responds. It’s the simple joy and consistency in physics- what goes up must come down.
My current series is to express humanity in the landscapes we traverse. The temporal human and our creations superimposed on the seemingly timeless earth.