Another World Inside the Walls recalls a fantasy world to which I would dream of escaping through the wall of my bedroom when I was a child. I wanted to evoke both the landscape as well as the emotional dream-like quality. A large grasshopper in the second panel invites looking for images and their juxtaposition. Throughout I’ve included images of Alice and the Caterpillar, famous of his “Who are you?” question, a series of 19th century European houses, a farmer woman holding back a cow in Julien Dupre’s painting In The Pasture, as well various passages from books regarding childhood, emotional development, and the role of imagination.
The style here reflects my research at the time into the work of Joan Mitchell and Willem de Kooning. Despite the strength of the influences, this was one of first paintings where I truly and deeply felt involved and invested in the process.
48 in by 80 in, acrylic and mixed media on masonite, 2012.
In the Spring of 2012, I was finishing up Painting IV at Brevard College and I wanted to do a piece that somehow honored the landscape of south-eastern Ohio, where I had grown up. I found inspiration in the paintings of Yangyang Pan, particularly her abstract landscapes from 2010. I really appreciate her open compositions and the rhythmic application of paint. For a further challenge, I decided to work with a triadic color scheme of secondary colors, that is: purple, orange, and green.
This painting was created in response to the human pain and suffering throughout Syria. It is not my intention to take sides in the conflict. I wouldn’t even begin to suggest that things are that simple. Sometime in 2011, I started following what was happening with the Syrian uprising. That winter, news and photos were being smuggled out of the country from civilians and rebels to show what was happening on a street-level. Individuals of all ages, rebels and otherwise, are caught in situation of intense misery and conflict.
With Ways to Dissolve, I continued my exploration of the red pigments. After painting the atmospheric Turning Red, I wanted to use the same red pigments in a more solid structured way. I also wanted to get into it with gutsy brush-strokes as opposed to the smooth wispy paint in Turning Red. At the time, I was looking a lot at Willem de Kooning’s Clam Diggers and Jasper Johns’s Target and Numbers and I can see where their influence fed into this painting.
I started with a photo of Goldie Hawn reading the newspaper, with her feet propped up on the breakfast table. I cut out her foot and pasted it to a small canvas upright like the statues on Easter Island. The pointing hand of St John the Baptist in Matthias Grünewald’s Isenheim Altarpiece was then added to the right side of the image. I balanced this out with a small square of text to the upper right corner, but later removed that in favor of the open space. The image was worked out on the smaller surface and then recreated on this larger canvas.
I wanted to do a monochromatic nonrepresentational painting that was all about a single hue in which I could explore a variety of pigments within that hue. And so, this one is red. I really became upset with it after a while, because it became so atmospheric and yet that’s what it wanted to be.
36 in by 36 in, oil on bed-sheet and masonite, 2012.