Emerging, detail 3

"Emerging" (detail)

Artist’s Statement

My current paintings evolved from my desire to incorporate the human figure into my life-long practice of formal abstraction. Although figurative art and abstract art may be seen as polar opposites, I synthesize the the two by creating figure drawings, breaking them apart, and building abstract compositions from the fragments. Viewed from a distance, the paintings are solidly abstract: a simple pattern stands out within a loose grid structure of columns and rows. A more intimate, close-up view reveals parts of the body or contour lines which, drawn from life, have an organic vitality.

The reference to the human body adds a layer of self-expression to the abstract forms and allows the viewer to bring narratives to the work from their own experience. Glimpses of faces, hands, etc. add warmth and the comfort of recognizing something familiar. The nude figure is less confrontational because it is fractured into smaller pieces, yet it is there, whether consciously recognized or not.

I strive to create images which are at the same time simple and complex. At first glance each painting presents a simple, clear abstract composition of stability and balance. Within each painting, however, is a complex variety of colors, textures and figurative elements. And while all the paintings in this series share the simple concept of the grid structure, there is endless variation in the patterns which emerge.

Abstraction vs. representation, explicit vs. obscured, simplicity vs. complexity. The answer to these apparent polarities is positive and optimistic: “Yes, all of the above.”



First, sheets of paper are painted with multiple layers of watercolor washes to develop a ground of rich color and texture. Onto these, the human figure is drawn from live models in a variety of media, including graphite, charcoal, colored pencil, and china marker. From a large stock of these painted/drawn sheets of paper, specific ones are chosen for their colors and torn into strips and glued onto a wood panel. To protect the watercolor and drawing materials, the finished painting is sprayed with a matte finish.