Forget-Me Nots: An Interactive Installation; oil and embroidery thread on canvas, acrylic and acrylic polymer on wood
A curated selection of a vast number of paintings
This gallery is representative of a comprehensive body of work created over the last four years and has been exhibited in three different exhibitions.
An Overwhelming Familiarity
The Opening Quote:
Francis Bacon said, “If you can talk about it, why paint it?”
The Social Concern:
Neuropsychology - Perception, Memory.
Terms found in DSM-5: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Prolonged Grief Disorder, Post- Traumatic Growth. .
I heard a radio interview with David Kushner, an author who lost his brother to a violent murder when he was only four. I re-read Catch-22 and The Uncanny. I repeatedly circled back to the way James Joyce writes. I devoured Francis Bacon. I looked at a million painters. I listened to Invisibilia and Hidden Brain podcasts about psychology and psychological anomalies.
We swing; we ride the carousel; we let the waves lap over us and over us and over us and over us and over us. Our lives are accumulated repetitions with slight variations… except when they are not. When Paris or Belgium is bombed, when a passenger jet crashes, during any mass tragedy, we all tune in. In all probability our lives don’t really change—except if we number in the survivors, first responders, or the families of the victims. Without fail, I am overwhelmed with the thought of children left behind during these tragedies. I consider them for their loss of a parent or parents, yes, but even more for how this early loss will affect their lifelong experiences. In these paintings, I attempt to explore the psyche of children who experience the trauma of loss. From personal experience and research, I found that the child that experiences an early violent loss experiences a fracturing of time and memory. They repeatedly cycle back to the moment of loss even if they were not present at the moment of trauma.
The Elevator Speech:
These paintings, like the vast majority of my work, explore the shifting nature of time, place, concept, actuality, and paint. All of these notions rely heavily on the stability of our own perception of them – what if the perception keeps fracturing? What if time doesn’t just move forward but rather it moves like the swing, or the carousel, or the waves?
The process of painting – can paint on a static substrate move? Stillness is not reflective of existence. Can an oil painting continue to breathe on its own once the artist’s flurry of brush strokes is finished? Can it converse with viewers, reveal new depths and return to the surface; can it reveal simultaneous reflections? Can it change its purpose?
I paint in a way that reflects my interest in the way the brain works, and the way I perceive the walk through life. I paint the same repeated figures, objects, colors, and shapes. I explore thin layers, frenetic and searching brushwork, pentimenti (traces of previous work; evidence that the artist changed his/her mind), accident, and anomaly. Back to Francis Bacon… he writes “In my case all painting... is an accident. I foresee it and yet I hardly ever carry it out as I foresee it. It transforms itself by the actual paint. I don't in fact know very often what the paint will do, and it does many things which are very much better than I could make it do.”
I often choose to forget many of the painting techniques I use from series to series. Were I to have too much memory of the ins and outs of each painting I create… I could not paint the way I want to paint – I would only be left with the way I know how to paint. And if I know how to paint the way I want, then that means I have lost the experience of painting, in which case I would have to go about forgetting how to paint before I could be a painter of worth.
The Closing Quote and Bit of Sage Advice:
“Hold to the now, the here, through which all future plunges to the past.”
― James Joyce, Ulysses