REVIEWS

      
ARTIST'S STATEMENTS

BUILDINGS, BOATS & TRUCKS

My paintings are inspired by old structures: abandoned buildings, weathered boats and rusting trucks. Aesthetically, these edifices have magnificent forms and shapes, yet I am attracted to their crookedness and decay. The fading wood, peeling paint and broken windows provide each image with a personality and a history. Utilization or these subjects imparts cultural metaphors relating to time, society, man and nature. They hold within them mysteries and suggestions of the past. Who built that house? Did teenagers ever sneak in and out of the windows? What happened to the family who lived and loved there? What storms and hardships did that vessel endure? Who was the Captain? Who created the beautiful lines of that boat? Who proudly drove that once brand new shiny red truck? Did a dog get to sit up front or did one ride in the back? These commonly found subjects are now beaten and worn, yet they speak of strength, dignity, love and time. Their future is questionable. The old truck will continue to rust and crumble. Nature may take over a vessel and send it to the bottom of the sea. Man may tear down an old beloved house leaving it to be paved over and parked on by Wal-mart shoppers. I am attempting to open peoples’ eyes, to draw their attention to the human side of life and to remind them of the humanity that these 20th Century relics and ruins represent.

Through the warping of space and the subtle nuances of color, I emphasize the significance of these worn and decaying structures. I employ Renaissance theories of perspective along with multiple viewpoints in order to establish an ambiguous, all-encompassing pictorial space. This space invites the viewer to experience the subject and the place. It creates a feeling, expresses a personality and emphasizes the dignity of my subject. Using brushstrokes of color and light, I describe the movement or stillness of the environment. Weathered wood, dripping rust and peeling paint create patterns and colors that provide for a sensuous surface. By focusing on these tactile qualities, I am emphasizing the feeling of solidity and decay of each building, vessel or vehicle.

The process of creating my work includes various procedures and experiments. I make several on site visits to the subjects which I am attracted to. I will do some sketching and take photographs to use as references in my studio. My small canvases are usually painted on location, while the larger pieces are worked in the studio. I experiment with variations in the shapes and sizes of my paintings, including diptychs and triptychs. Some pieces are worked on canvas, while others on wood panel or masonite. My works are always changing through composition, space and color until I reach what I feel is the most effective visual statement.

Through creativity, experimentation and research, I am suggesting historical and sociological concepts that are connected to these abandoned and decaying structures. By placing these commonly found structures in a unique space and emphasizing specific characteristics, they become icons and metaphors relating to our culture. The abandoned buildings, vessels and vehicles of the 20th Century will continue to decay, but through thick strokes of paint I am seeking to immortalize their profundity.

 

BIRDS

Strong and whimsical, like an old man of the sea with a tall tale to tell, sea birds have become a prominent subject that I have added to my repertoire.

After spending over a decade inspired by worn, weathered fishing boats, I have developed a fondness for the sea birds that adorn them. Soft feathered bodies, beady little eyes, and wonderfully formed feet provide each bird with an intriguing personality. Their stance is often elegant and graceful, yet the wind in their feathers and the look in their eyes can be as expressive as an old salt reflecting on a long life at sea.

I have spent many seasons on commercial fishing boats. Throughout this experience, I have been studying and appreciating the quirky characteristics of sea birds. I am attracted to the soft and subtle forms of their bodies and how they contrast with their bold angular beaks, skinny little legs and boney bright feet. Out fishing, or tied up in port, I take photographs, draw and paint. Time of day, time of year, wind, fog, sun and rain provide various types of light, shadow and reflection. These elements influence the expression and the mood of each piece. Some of my paintings are completed on board my “floating studio”, while others are painted in my studio at home using my photographs and sketches as references.

As with an old boat, I find character and personality in birds. The juxtaposition of weathered fishing vessels and these curious, feathered creatures continues to fascinate me. With such whimsical elegance, they too tell stories of the sea.