Artist’s Statement

My paintings explore issues regarding the fragile nature of memory, the fluidity of identity, our relationship with our constructed environments, and our attempts to communicate using signs, symbols, text, and asemic writing.  I move freely between representation and abstraction as I work with a variety of subject matter, including architecture, the figure, and the urban landscape. Regardless of the subject, I use fragmentation, layering, and complexity to create multiple possibilities for interpretation and experience.  Often a variety of images are fused within a single work, and recent paintings have incorporated text and random marks to enrich/agitate images both formally and conceptually. 

In this new work, the integration of seemingly incongruous elements with carefully constructed, representational images offers opportunities to explore ways of resisting/embracing coexisting control and chaos. These marks, which disturb the expected flow, introduce a kind of syncopation that celebrates unpredictability and release. The mix of recognizable imagery with abstract shapes and lines then creates a visual dance—an energetic fusion. Although the text/non-text might be completely indecipherable, the layers, the multiplicity of interweaving, jumbled, cumulative marks and tags can be experienced as gestures fueled by exuberance, passion, anxiety, or other strong emotion that demands expression.

As I continue in this direction, I find that I am an obsessive observer of signs but am increasingly skeptical that I perceive them in the ways intended by those who produced them. As someone who lived and worked for a time in a country where I did not speak the language, I have experiential knowledge of the mental and physical instability that arises from the difficulty in translating languages, deciphering symbols, and interpreting signs. When one is uprooted and must endeavor to feel at home in an unfamiliar environment and culture, it becomes necessary to deal with the fluidity of personal identity and the challenge of recognizing a new role as unreliable narrator.  Struggling to move forward, one exists in a liminal state in which reality is constructed from shifting signs and fragmented memories that are pieced together in malleable, random arrangements.

Even when living in a familiar place, we can experience disorientation, vulnerability, and unease. Our confusion may be intensified since we assume we should understand what something means when we confront it, yet often we are confounded.  However, we are not alone in this process of attempting to construct meaning by creating a synthesis between the outer world and our inner state of mind. From shifting perceptions, unreliable memories, and vague intentions and impulses we construct an identity and a personal and sometimes briefly shared narrative of the past and a possible future.  It is this struggle that fascinates me.

My inspirations often come from literature, and two authors I consistently turn to are Thomas Pynchon and Samuel Beckett.  These are some of the passages and lines that influence my current work:

“She could, at this stage of things, recognize signals like that, as the epileptic is said to—an odor, color, pure piercing grace note announcing his seizure. Afterward it is only this signal, really dross, this secular announcement, and never what is revealed during the attack, that he remembers. Oedipa wondered whether, at the end of this (if it were supposed to end), she too might not be left with only compiled memories of clues, announcements, intimations, but never the central truth itself, which must somehow each time be too bright for her memory to hold; which must always blaze out, destroying its own message irreversibly, leaving an overexposed blank when the ordinary world came back.”
― Thomas Pynchon, The Crying of Lot 49 (1966)

“Where now?  Who now?  When now?”
― Samuel Beckett, The Unnamable (1953, trans. Patrick Bowles)

“Shall I project a world?”
― Thomas Pynchon, The Crying of Lot 49 (1966)