I want a painting to have a form, a mass, a substance of the essential and mysterious beyond the formal matters of light and color. I want it to resonate with the idea of a place, thing or a history. To this end a painting is largely an act of intuition. The way a mark is made and how it builds the image is itself a response and as important as the final image. This creates a tension between abstract and representation, and leaves room for the viewer to themselves react and participate. This is part of the basic urge to scribble something, to shape the world, and to scrutinize and try to understand that world. This is an old idea of the magic that can be art. This is the painting of my heroes - DeKooning, Degas, Rembrandt, Wyeth.
It is also the intensity and curiosity of being human. We are creatures of the landscape, of flesh, of our own personal and shared histories. However nuanced the final products, these root ideas are the start of my paintings.
The question most asked is, "Why meat?" The glib answer is "you can only paint so many pears." The longer answer is that a piece of meat can be stunning and intriguing. We have a much more complicated reaction to a portion of lamb than we do to that pear. We are ourselves, after all, meat. We've built cultures around the animal as part of the family meal. But no matter that history, no matter how intricate the shapes and colors of the bone, muscle, fat and gristle, we are keenly aware that is part of a once living thing. It's beautiful, desirable, and it's unclean.
The figurative works, in contrast, are the slowest to crystalize. Most are explorations of my family history based on old film footage from the 40's and 50's. Within those old frames, transformed by time into a smear of peculiar blues, blacks and whites, there are little moments that seem to say more than they originally captured. Starting there, the details lost to time, I find something new. But, built of the stories and roots of my life, they are more than inventions.
The landscape is that space where horizons and man intersect. Growing up in Wyeth country, I wandered through woods and cow fields and old battlefields. I still find the rural space, where nature and man meet most compelling. How a barn sits in a field, the blunt realities of its existence, the stories it contains. It's a question.