Artist Statement

My paintings are interpretive documentations of subjects unique to American culture.  My choice of subject matter is determined by the thoughtful consideration and evaluation of several criteria.  Of first importance, a potential subject must reflect our society and culture, about which I try to maintain a neutral point of view, refraining from conveying any narrative or moral message, or any value judgment concerning either the nature or social implications of the subject.  My goal is to present it as objectively and unemotionally as possible, and leave any emotional reaction up to the viewer.

 

In selecting a subject, I avoid drama and romanticism, and rather look for the overlooked commonplace—something so familiar on the American scene that it is barely even noticed.  Such matter-of-fact subjects, however, even seen through fresh eyes, must not only be visually interesting to me, but possess a nostalgic quality, a certain gravitas, that sets them apart from the ordinary picturesque.

 

In approaching the process of painting itself, I am not interested in realism derived from direct observation—but rather in how things look through an objective eye. Photography provides that objective eye.  I interpret the information contained in photographs and make decisions regarding which images will be incorporated into my paintings, and which ones are to be left out.  Through my painting process, colors are altered, superfluous detail removed, some areas simplified, and other areas enhanced.  The images in my paintings are gradually changed from those in the original photographs to become re-constructed images.  This re-construction creates an improved visual illusion, and refines reality to a level of extreme clarity. The surfaces of my paintings are smooth, with no impasto or otherwise distracting, expressive marks.  I would like my paintings to be perceived as image, rather than the conscious awareness of a painted surface.

 

In summary, my paintings are not merely copies in paint of photographic references, nor are they depictions in paint of directly observed subjects.  They are my interpretations of a unique American culture, informed by the way I internalize or remember particular subjects.  On occasion, I am surprised that the original subjects do not more closely resemble my paintings.