My work as a painter embodies an ongoing exploration of the relationship between abstract and representational painting. It is the unpredictability and mysteries of nature that intrigue me. All around us, we see both harmony and dissonance: lightness and darkness, growth and decay, strength and frailty. It is inherently tame and wild, soothing and disturbing, exciting and frightening, just and unjust… all at once.
Our modern day relationship with nature has evolved in many ways. As more of us than ever before live in cities and work indoors, our encounters with nature have become increasingly rare and brief… and seldom do we have the opportunity to experience it with all our senses. We encounter scenery only while driving by it, or through the lens of a camera, or accompanied by music plugged into our ears. And most often, I find we experience the natural wonders outside our doors through photography, movies, and digital content produced by others—a second-hand experience of something powerful.
In addition to my personal contact with nature, I draw inspiration from these diverse sources. I see images or clips of cloud formations, waterfalls, mountains, waves, and twisters… yet once in the studio I paint solely from memory: what nature has rendered indelible in my mind.
Landscape studies by masters such as William Turner, Caspar David Friedrich and John Constable provided additional source material for my recent body of work. Their studies appear to have been completed quickly—yet with the utmost attention to the essential. In that regard, these pieces stand in direct relationship to my own explorations in painting: which shape, gesture, color or division is needed to capture what I am seeing? Which images, experiences, and values that I have collected over the years influence my observation of nature?
Rather than creating detailed, photorealistic depictions of nature, my aim is to capture an atmosphere. I am interested in the experimental and transformative act of painting: taking liberties with color, form, space, and movement, as well as my choice of tools, techniques, and materials. While carefully considering notions of balance, rhythm, unity, disruption and the incomplete, I work in fast and slow movements, in multiple time increments, and in multiple layers.
With my work, as I translate the experience of viewing nature into oil paintings on canvas, I also strive to reconcile the opposing elements and forces of nature that impact my personal world, and the world around me.