The American philosopher John Dewey, in describing aesthetics, claimed works of art spring from our everyday experience. In other words, there exists no exalted realm from which art emerges; rather, our everyday life yields the beautiful if we take the time to look. When I began my artistic journey at an early age, I had not yet read these words, yet drew from a similar idea: taking the everyday and finding the beauty therein. Now, as an older and more seasoned artist, I find myself still drawn to this idea. There is something so wonderful about translating daily existence into paintings, and something profound about learning how much you share in common with other people when you share those paintings. And, when a subject is deemed “worthy” of being made into a work of art, the viewer has an opportunity to engage with the motif differently.
Though I have experimented in various artistic media ranging from intaglio printmaking and silkscreens to ceramics, I find that oil paint continues to have an allure that I find irresistible. Oil paint loans itself to countless effects and possibilities. As a medium that also encapsulates a long history of meaning and tradition amongst some of the foremost painters in the world, it already comes to us as a loaded, rich vehicle for artistic thought. As such, and as an artist pointedly concerned with art historical discourse, I find that oil paint allows me to express a decidedly nuanced approach to the appearance of everyday landscapes and figures that speak to both the contemporaneity of subject while paying homage to those historical artists who have shaped my practice.
It is important to me that I respect the viewer’s dignity, spirituality, and humanity while conveying my experience predominantly through color, texture that still plays upon the representational. My goal has always been to create works that could be understood and interpreted on a number of levels: the purely sensual (through my use of rich colors and deceptively simple subject matter,) and in a way that continues to interest the viewer when considered on a more conceptual level. It is the more complex work of art that forces the viewer to become actively involved in the reconstruction of the piece and invites continuous contemplation of possible meanings. We are less interested, ultimately, in the simplistic, as it fails to challenge the imagination. Great works of art force us to digest them slowly over time, through continuous revisiting.