I confess. I frequently don’t know where I am going to end up with a painting. But I consider chance, that aleatoric interface/interference to be my friend. Similar to the Situationists who would dèrive (drift/meander) the streets of Paris to engage with the attractions or distractions they would encounter, I’d rather follow my nose by heading out on the proverbial wild goose chase than to overthink myself into a corner or become mired in a repetitive rut. Even though I usually start with an idea, a piece inevitably morphs into something other than what I initially intended. Consequently, I give myself permission to shift gears whenever I feel it necessary. In doing so I just might surprise myself and if I’m lucky I may also learn something. Finding the thing I’m not looking for . . . recognizing the right mistake or failed experiment and salvaging it, that is what motivates me. You never know when Cinderella will show up. As John Cage said, “Ideas are one thing and what happens is another.”
Once I get “there” it doesn’t have to add up in a concrete way. Ambiguity offers a work the depth or breadth that allows it to function as art, rather than as in math where a + b must = c. The equation is often less rational and there is frequently more than one right answer in what I consider to be my most successful artwork.
I believe most visual artwork is best first understood at a strictly visual level, as a sort of personal instinctual or visceral impression. If a painting can’t slow viewers down long enough to get them to spend time imbibing it visually it will never go further regardless of what the artist thinks it’s about. Music is my favorite analogy. Audiences normally don’t come to a piece of music with the “What does it mean?” question. None of this is to say there is nothing more to good art than what meets the eye but let’s face it, most of our relationships start there.
Regarding the pieces in this show, I feel a bit like the seventeen year cicada. After a relatively slow “underground” period during which I self-furloughed by stepping back from significant engagement with making art, I created these paintings over the period from April 2020 through May 2021. A timeframe that began with the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown. I feel reinvigorated.