Silenced ( Before Night Falls )
For several decades I've been working in a painted construction mode. Starting off as a painter, I realize the square canvas was somewhat an artificial format and decided to build the object itself and then paint it. Though sculptural, they are usually wall mounted and thus retain that aspect of painting. Many of the earlier painted constructions have used an x, xy, or triangular structure. These elements appeal because of the myriad number of meanings assigned to them from mathematical, religious, gender, or historic, to concepts such as convergence, expansion, compartmentalizing and balance. Color is often a dominant focus in the structures. While abstract they often use or are in infused with elements that derive from the real world. Some of these have been botany, geology, Roman Catholicism, environmental and political connotations, and sexual imagery. Works on paper, watercolor/gouache and drawing, have always been a vital adjunct to the constructions. Many of the same symbolic shapes and images mentioned above appear in these as well. I tend to think about drawing much as I do about painting, using successive layers of color that build up, leading to a density of color, often retaining a translucency. Imagery can be structured and controlled, and at times somewhat symmetrical. In both the painted wood structures and the works or paper, I often include other materials, ranging from metal, glass, found objects, plastic, inkjet or laser transfers, and anything that might relate to the image or the feel that l'm trying to achieve. A minimal aspect of some pieces derives from a desire to achieve a meditative response to the chaotic, stressed lives many people are living in this tumultuous age. I find solace in color, shape, pattern, and their variation. Other recent work is more emotional in character, reflects on the vagaries of nature and the state of the environment, and ideas of nature vs. man. Recently I have been working on two series that deal with the combined elements of science with art. One is a homage to scientists in the fields of botany, chemistry and astronomy. These men used their extraordinary intelligence to organize and clarify an understanding on how the world operates. The second is dealing with the periodic table of elements. There are approximately 100 elements (not counting the other synthesized or hypothetical ones) that make up all animate beings and inanimate objects and materials in the world. This fact that so few substances can create such diversity is phenomenal. Exploration and research into the elements lead into other areas of geography, geology, and the historical, ecological, and political / geographical use or misuse of them. Presently I'm finishing a series for an exhibition at the U of M research labs Rotunda Gallery that deals with art inspired by science. Another recent development is the use of botanical imagery in my work. It's somewhat a revisit to themes in some of my early work, relates to my interests in science, and my pastime as a gardener. The addition of these fluid shapes is a 180 degree variation from the geometrics of the last few decades.