I have always worked in series—streams of thoughts and desires common to us all, represented by images. I see the images as signs of the material world, intimations of the nonmaterial.
At first my series were narrative, encompassing quotidian aspects such as romantic love and building construction. And I considered ideas—enlightenment, science, memory. Now I am thinking about nature and our planet, as so many of us are. My intention is to paint about life and the inevitable beauty, portal to the sublime.
For my series, I think a long time about what I want to talk about, then I photograph that idea and use those photographs as the basis for eight to twenty paintings, all of which have typically been on one or two supports. The series I am working on now, Natural History, is a little different. It comprises 33 separate canvases.
The Natural History paintings can function as a sign of nature, and one painting can signify the entire series. They can be shown by being scanned and enlarged, as a public presentation, or made smaller for private use, like a personal icon.
I have been working on the Natural History series about nature for a while. One of the ideas behind Natural History is to call attention to the beauty and to the value of that beauty, even though the paintings themselves are highly artificial. I think about art such as Chinese landscape painting, a kind of painting that stood for a pathway to enlightenment through the contemplation that nature encourages. The paintings were codified, referential, reverential.
I am trying to point to a good thing here. To present thoughtful art, to open things up, to carve another channel for insight. Making meaning.
From time to time I make related work, such as wall-size CP Trees, very small paintings on paper, and abstract nature-based pieces. I propose to continue working on Natural History concurrently with the other, less elaborate pieces, such as 2016’s Magnolia paintings. This series came about after a trip to the South, where I admired the flower of the Southern Magnolia tree. At home here, I got road maps of the South, gessoed chosen pieces of the maps to four-by-six-inch watercolor paper, and painted directly on the maps. If you look closely, you can see the maps underneath.