I make my place in the world by mapping experience and memory onto two dimensions through correspondences with the formal elements of visual art—line, shape, value, color, texture—and the truth of the materials at hand, oil paint, canvas, paper.
Memory and imagination, whether conscious or implicit, are essential for the artist and the viewer or listener. We bring our own experiences to a work.
Music, too, has its own elements, such as tonality and rhythm, which when juxtaposed produce formal interrelationships. These formal relationships, whether found in musical pieces or paintings, become the source of meaning, including feelings of beauty and evocations of place and time. For the viewer, as well, memory, attention, and imagination become essential capacities if meaning is to be found. We live in an age of mobility.
My work contrasts the gulf between the Eden we carry within us as we travel, and the here and now we create. Many of our most significant perceptions of the world we inhabit occur while we are moving from one place to another. The world becomes a tableau projected on the window screen. We witness the metamorphoses of gridded landscapes, evidence of our rationalized space and lives. Painting, in opposition to photography, becomes a way of taking back these experiences into the realm of the tactile, the material.
The Sonora series grow out of an interest in patterns of urbanization and agriculture, especially the edges of settlements. I was struck by the contrast between rapidly urbanizing areas, the desert, and agricultural fields. This part of Mexico is growing rapidly to supply the United States with vegetables year-round. I developed a sketch into a motif, which I explored in these three pieces. The aerial viewpoint itself epitomizes distance, mobility, and mediation by technology. These pieces, as well as others, refer to an accelerated mining of the land, and the perspective that seems to distance us from industrial agriculture, even as we admire its formal symmetries. This aesthetic itself betrays our complicity.
Over and against the landscape, which has been measured, bought and sold, arches the mercurial and inescapable element of weather, itself affected by the exhalations from the machines in the garden. Several of these pieces are meditations on the impermanence of our hegemony, the ultimate resistance of the natural world to our persistent incursions.
This may be evidence of some melancholic reflection on humankind’s colonizing presence on the face of the earth: our relentless exploration, mapping, and exploitation of the natural world. Particular subjects, such as bridges, rivers, agriculture and the built environment bring us face-to-face with concrete, experiential metaphors. In that encounter perhaps we may gain insight in the form of poetic truths about our experience.