Lives and works in Chicago, IL and resident at the Cornelia Arts Building.
I am a painter exploring contemporary issues in perception, place, landscape, travel, and memory. I graduated from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2007 with a BFA in painting and drawing.
No matter which scenes an individual remembers, they all mean something relevant to that person, though he or she might not necessarily know what they mean. – Maurice Halbwachs
Siegfried Kracauer describes “significance” as going beyond spatial and temporal limitations, eventually turning fragments of memory into unconscious truth. In much the same way, I use traces of memory to inform my work. By combing through my travel log and using a history of personal photos, or what Kracauer would describe as “a jumble that consists partly of garbage,” I find images for reference. A feeling without preconception and a place interrupt my archival shuffle. In Space and Collective Memory Maurice Halbwachs identifies that “every collective memory unfolds within a spatial framework,” and it is the lasting impression of place through travel, habitation, imagination, and thought which aids one in conjuring the past. Image helps me detangle the randomness of experience or allows me to observe chaos pleasurably by creating it.
We ourselves may experience a similar period of uncertainty, as if we had left behind our whole personality, when we are obliged to move to novel surroundings and have not yet adapted to them. – Maurice Halbwachs
My process begins much like the “wordless thought” that James Turrell has identified behind creating a sense of seeing within atmosphere. The foundation of my work is authentic immediate experiences. If I include figures, they are usually people I know. The two places most frequently represented are Italy and mountainous landscapes, both locations of origin in different ways. From family history I developed a sense of belonging to Italy without visiting the country. In a recent project, I used Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities as way to explore my idea of Capri, but my current work is based on actual memories. Mountainous landscapes are the first I can recall, having lived in Colorado when I was younger. They act as Halbwach’s framework over multiple periods of time in my life and symbolically remind me that as much as I try to recreate moments through painting, they are ultimately unrepeatable.
The painters who currently influence me use realism as a means towards abstraction such as Peter Doig, Claire Sherman, and Fairfield Porter. I get my satisfaction when a viewer can access their own memories without clear resolve, while also gaining some pleasure deconstructing my images. The landscapes of Capri and Venice are exaggerated versions of scale and color. The vantage point seems to be unnatural, as if viewed from a dream. Delicate linear details make buildings appear miniature or something to be kept and cherished. In the triptych series After Joan Jonas, the interior space of the American Pavilion at the 2015 Venice Biennale allowed me to use disorienting elements like projection screens, mirrors, spotlights and chandeliers that were part of the installation. The final landscape paintings all force perspective towards a single figure. The Romantic idea of the heroic individual at one and in awe of nature is obvious at first. Light and color is inviting, and small areas of pattern and rhythm create playful transitions across the surface. At the same time the figures are trapped or separated from the formal horizon line found in traditional landscape painting.