Talking About this Work
I've been thinking about abstract work, why I'm doing it and how to talk about it. Painting, for me, has always been a celebration of the big shapes of sky and land that inspire me; even in my landscapes I try to simplify, to abstract from nature the emotional essence of the scene. I think of what I'm doing now as a further distillation of those elements, a kind of reveling in the parts that invoke pure joy. It is purposefully ambiguous, meant to be translated through the filter of one's own life experiences.
Much of my childhood was spent in the rolling plains of South Dakota, under enormous skies, the clouds rolling by, occasionally giving respite from the sun, and at night, the star hanging so close and yet receding so impossibly far. I remember hot summers that smelled of wheat, playing in the fields with the grasses above our heads, tunneling through them like we did through snow in winter. During tornado weather, we rode our bikes under the swirling green above, shouting to be heard above the creaking and cracking of tree branches. On the playground, we swung as high as we could, our bodies hanging backwards to see the world upside down, and competed to spot the furthest object at the height of the arc.
I was blessed to have three siblings and a multitude of neighborhood kids to play with, and yet, in all of these memories, I am alone. Such is the privilege of childhood, to be supremely in the moment. Circling around in the street, looking up at those swirling clouds, I can feel again the solitude, the other children's shouting receding to an ambient roar, their movements becoming slow-motion, their words indistinct. I am aware of the vastness of the land, of endlessness to the horizon, the sky, the universe, and in my mind, I am exactly in the middle of it all, a limitless hemisphere which centers on me.
This is what I'm exploring with this body of work-- the total absorption in a moment all one's own, even if shared physically with others, a moment that speaks to one's self, that is subject to one's own interpretation only.
Child at Heart