I love to paint. Animals are incredibly interesting to me. There’s something that bubbles up when I paint one that is so true it feels as if I’m being challenged to bear witness to it.
My work incorporates disparate elements that can be, at first, confusing. I begin with visual effects, contrasts in color and form, and the rhythm and patterns created by shapes. Then I might contrast this with the linear horizon of an almost infinite landscape. Finally, close-up the assemblage appears monumental, almost surreal, like a Magritte or a Dali. But my intent is not to be humorous or clever, in the same way as these artists, but to offer a sort of meditation on forms and colors removed from their literal associations.
These paintings challenge the still life genre altogether. But many categories of art are loose, incorporating landscapes, figures and objects. In this work, I am influenced both by Guiseppe Arcimboldo and late 19th century symbolism. Here, I intend to evoke another world. Yet the objects are specific, allowing the viewer to focus on the particular. In this contrast between the real and the imagined, the familiar and the strange, one can linger in ways that are impossible with the fleeting nature of dreams.
My work is becoming more personal. I am still attracted to beautiful, simple things: a single figure, natural objects such as fruits and flowers displayed in small groupings, and quiet landscapes, usually at dusk or dawn. Yet I am more involved in the present, a world that seems disjointed with virtual cultures, bits and bytes of information, mixing everywhere. My mind swirls with images of old masters and contemporary art, classical and pop cultures. All of this brings an atemporal element to my art. The difference is that I still want to fix it in traditional media. It is the best way for me to both commune with the past and run with the adrenaline-fueled future.
I am noticing two recent trends. Both, I think, mark a partial return to contemporary figuration. In the trenches, there are artists who are studying for years, learning to paint the most introspective detail. Their canvases are as refined as any past master, and the subjects are very realistic. However, I believe that how something is made affects how the object is viewed. A painting entirely made by hand offers an unmitigated and honest communication between the artist and viewer. One suddenly becomes a part of the creation of the work, appreciates the artist’s commitment, her ability to sustain an idea. For me, this is poetry, and I think that there is a rising connoisseurship for the bespoke object.
I do not think any one of us can imagine exactly what a truly global, competitive art world will look like. Where the more gentle works such as still lives will fit in will be interesting. Hopefully, chaos will always be balanced by order and people will seek some respite from the sensational and the distractive.