I find inspiration in the nuances and subtleties of how living things present themselves, and my drawings are a constant thread of creative effort allowing me to refine my vision and worldview with each iteration.
I think of my drawings as “diagrams” for the way living things become, grow, mature, die, and “become” again. The hidden algorithms of life’s patterns are revealed in a twig, or the solar-optimized silhouette of a leaf. Pulled from the underground, roots suggest a connection to the Earth, rhizomes suggest a connection among common entities.
My work expresses the awesome presence of life on earth, especially in the minute and often overlooked existences among us. These are diagrams for
finding my place among the living, connected with and part of the natural world. They are maps for working in a mindset of meditative presence, stopping time.
In trying to gain context for my studio practice and how it related to some greater sphere of an art world, years ago I looked to touring the museums of Europe to view the great masterpieces of art. At the Uffizi, the Louvre, and Pinakotheks, I was able to see the great paintings and drawings of the Renaissance and beyond. However, one painting after another of portraits, figural groups, and battle scenes, I began to feel that there was a narcissistic impulse to so much human-centric composition. So instead of appreciating the masters’ mimicry of human flesh on canvas and alchemy of life by oil paint, I found greater fascination with the strange botanical forms that artists put into the foreground and backgrounds of their otherwise figural compositions.
There seemed to be great enthusiasm and virtuosity put into these “peripheral” things, as if once the human form assumed its dominance in the picture, then the other beings could come to exist in a supporting role, in stillness and repose in the landscape.
For me, these representations were far more interesting and captivating, and compelling in telling how even the Renaissance man related to his natural surroundings and its inhabitants. Humans were the center of the world then. Now we exist comfortably at the top of the food chain, gobbling Earth’s resources and natural spaces at an alarming rate, taking more and giving less back. Today, we are occupying the center in ways detrimental to our cohabitants.
The impacts of mankind’s industrialization on all life on earth, particularly through burning fossil fuels, are manifesting across boundaries and borders. As careless spills destroy ecosystems, air emissions degrade health and vitality, systems seem to be changing- drying forests ripe for fire, warming oceans that generate superstorms, equatorial desertification intensifies.
My work expresses my interest in creating awareness of human life in balance with other life forms and our shared environment.
I use carboniferous media to express carbon-based life forms, some enigmatic and some recognizable, on stark white grounds.
My artwork represents marks and artifacts of life’s activity. As evidence of existence, the work brings a focus of attention upon the everyday and the unseen, and a vision for balanced coexistence among living things.
On another continent in the 1990’s, I was travelling through the jungles of Costa Rica with a friend, equipped with sketchbooks and a bellypack full of pens and watercolors. While there I experienced a moment of “awakening” that has inspired me ever since. This was more like a “re-awakening,” as it felt more of a confirmation of something that was lying dormant inside of me but that I had forgotten.
The air vibrated and hummed as the abundance of life filled all space around me. On trails under the damp canopies I found immense joy in drawing the profusion of natural forms that I encountered- the oversized, primordial tree ferns and hanging vines, lizards basking in sunlit clearings, dung beetles pushing large balls uphill with their hind legs. Time stopped as I was immersed in the wonder of creation. For hours on end I marked pages in approximations of the forms that I encountered.
That “moving meditation” with pen and paper has continued for more than 20 years, from meadow to forest to swamp to studio.
When I feel that I am losing myself among the daily affairs of man and machinery, I find myself drawn to Nature; senses open, perceiving and interpreting my encounters with other living things, co-mingling with my reverence for nature, like a prayer.
400a Julia Street
New Orleans, LA
(504)522-5471 tel (928)597-5471 fx firstname.lastname@example.org