“Wild Olympia” is reference to the Olympic Peninsula of Washington State, which includes the wilderness spaces of Olympic National Park. It is also a subtle nod to art history and to those who live unrestrained.
My interest in the preservation of external and internal wilderness spaces is portrayed through depictions of iconic places of Olympic National Park, which borrow from the classical Western aesthetic style of art and are coupled with dynamic negative space drawings. The harmonious circular or square shaped paintings are interrupted by automatic drawing responses that break up the traditional landscape imagery and explore a reactionary line between subconscious and conscious thought. While the unpainted spaces challenge the pictorial, they reveal the subsurface support material of whence they came and create access to the void.
The combination of different types of wild imagery may address multiple contemporary and age-old concerns with the foremost being nature, violence, sex, and death. The titles of the artworks support these ideas with either double or triple entendres. As with the wild places they reference, these paintings have teeth. They can seduce and strike. From mountains to mega-quakes, from sea-stacks to tsunamis, from rainforest to deluge, and from fir to fur, these timeless and enduring relationships suggest that the beauty and power of the Northwest wilderness may persist even though it may come with great loss. The depicted landscapes are empty of any zoomorphic forms. It’s a subtle reference to the Anthropocene, the next mass extinction on Earth.
Like the great tondo works of the Renaissance, I have chosen the circular format as a way of referencing an eternal utopian vision. The surface diameters are either 24 inches, as to the number of hours in a day, or 7 inches, as to the number of days in a week, which are both circular repeating based on the Earth’s rotation and orbit. The sizes and shape create a foundation for an unrealistic plea of the eternal continuation of uncompromised nature, and is therefore challenged immediately by the broken image absent of pigment.
Similar to a keyboard’s key shape and a reference to the written language they support, I have selected the square format for the, “Lost Words” series. They are 8 inches as to the eighth day. The images are lacking color, slightly grainy, dark, and are comparable to early historical photos or faded memories that are now devoid of life. Like the iconic lines and shapes of ancient petroglyphs whose meanings may be lost, an automatic drawn response interrupts the photographic image creating a partially undecipherable symbolic language. It’s through this drawing process that I tried to understand and depict the inexplicable related to the captured landscapes largely unknowable powerful stories and ghosts of past, present, and future.
The “Wild Olympia” message can cross the borders of Olympic National Park and raise questions about humanity's role as caretaker of the Earth. Often viewed as pristine and untouched, the protected wilderness places may inspire grandiose idealized visions of nature, though they are constantly threatened by direct and indirect human activity. As follows, the pristine spaces of this body of work have been slashed by tool and hand leaving a lasting disruptive imprint that’s not easily dismissed.
Artist Statement - Wild Olympia
Artist Statement - The Clouded Now
I am fascinated by perseverance and find this primordial instinct and necessity of life to be both noble and suspect, especially when the path is perilous and end bodes to be bleak.
My work explores the sublimity of existence through a post-apocalyptic environment emblematic of death, disaster, and desolation, without abandoning subtle indications of hope and beauty. The imagery and subject matter depicted allows for an open-ended inquiry into the bewildering human condition, and may address an extensive range of contemporary issues.
The paintings I create contain images that come from multiple direct and indirect visual sources, which are conflated, recontextualized, altered, and translated into paint through a long studio process that often takes months to complete. Inspiration is found in a profusion of life experiences and references that include but are not limited to observation, imagination, memory, subconscious thought, happenstance, literature, periodicals, film, art history, and the web. Intrigued and mystified by consciousness, purpose, and delusion, I seek out the metaphorical gray in paint and am delighted when my images raise open-ended questions that are subject to interpretation.
I take refuge in the power and versatility of oil paint and have deep respect and appreciation for its immediacy, history, and transformative visual capabilities. I use traditional painting techniques where a dark and rich color palette creates the subdued tones and distressed atmosphere associated with destruction, while bright cautionary cadmiums break through the darkness to present an alarming beauty.
In which direction does the road lie? We seek answers to the many questions of life and are seldom pacified. As conscious beings we have emerged from infinite mystery, and into mystery we’ll return. In the end we may find that mystery is all there is. Until then, may these paintings be an enduring reminder of the end as we peregrinate.