Green thumb, green light, green-eyed monster, greenbacks. Ball fields, billiard tables, innocence, eco-politics. Green is a capricious color, pastoral freshness shifting to nausea, jealousy, and decay. It’s an unfixable, color with a past. Green, in all its glory and infamy is the inspiration behind this group of mixed media paintings and collage. Oil and polymer-based paint, photographs of the distressed urban waterfront, paper, studio notes, tape, and thumbtacks create spatial constructs and surface shifts that manifest the color green as multi-referent and menappean trickster.
Warships, oil slicks, feral cats, cormorants. Nature under pressure from industry, technology and aggression surrounds my studio on the New York Harbor, approaching and receding without end. “Harbor” is a body of work about the triangulation of progress, abuse, and resilience realized through a conversation between direct painting, photography and projection. The image is altered and distilled as it moves through shifting media lenses, a kind of visual call and response.
In John Berger’s essay Why Look at Animals, he states that we are distinguished from animals by our capacity for symbolic thought, yet the very first symbols were animals. Animals offer explanations for and parallels with our behavior, or at least lend their name or character to particular human qualities. These paintings feature allegorical scenarios involving a cast of invented animal characters and landscapes that reference psychological states, power struggles, and environmental anxiety.
I was walking in northern Mexico through an abandoned construction site, half built bunker-like modern apartments, the concrete already crumbling. As I walked through the rubble my foot touched something soft. I looked down. It was a dead dog, half burned and covered in dust. I looked up and realized that there were dozens of half-burnt dogs scattered around. I found out later that people would dump the corpses, set them on fire and leave. Soon the desert wind would come up and blow out the flames. I have always been struck by how suddenly the familiar ceases to be so. I find that working with collage offers the kind of startling discoveries that replicate these moments of estrangement.