Manifesting paradox, a journey from representation to abstraction.
For more than 20 years, using watercolor, I have explored the still-life genre and have found that it could be used to examine and illuminate contemporary life and humanity in many ways. I came to see that the everyday object has a special significance, and could represent both the personal and the universal in a way that was rich in symbolism, emotion and narrative.
The work from Rituals and Meditations explored a ritualistic connection to universal truths that was based in my meditation practice. It allowed me to delve deeply into unconscious connections to objects that had personal meaning for me, such as stones collected from beaches around the world, glasses, bowls and plates I used to eat my lunch, thorns and flowers, and in the later pieces, skulls and bones, to create work that was magical and mysterious.
In Art is a Four Letter Word I explored the interaction between words and images as the two main ways we communicate and understand the world around us in an attempt to understand both the innate tension that exists between these two methods of defining and recording ideas, and the bond that they can create with intellect and sensation. In some of the work I used an artist’s mannequin to create an alter-ego, a stand-in for myself, almost as a self-portrait, that allowed me to explore deeply personal fears and preconceptions.
However I recently began to create work that stripped away the image and narrowed my focus to what I saw as the essence of all art:- line, form and color using the simple printmaking technique of monotype. Because monotype allows for a more spontaneous and immediate form of expression than painting I felt more deeply connected to the visceral power of color that I was wanting to express. The earliest work in the Calla Lily Series took the same simple line drawing repeated with variations through the 50 prints, like a musical melody, taking it to extremes of lyrical color that verged on abstraction.
Following this direction the next series Gesture and Feeling abandoned even the simplest elements of representation and drew on my calligraphic training to create spontaneous compositions of energized color and line. In the SpaceTime series, the emotional tenor was softened, and I used rollers rather than brushes to create extremely simple compositions that allowed the color to stand alone as the main content of the work. The most recent work, Meditations on the Square, was inspired by traditional quilts, Islamic tile patterns and the music of Bach and Glass. Using repeated overlapping color, I created geometric compositional structures that, like a sonnet or sonata, allowed for infinite variation, and was truly rooted in color.
These joyful struggles to visually manifest the mysterious beauty of life are fueled by my own restless desires. As I search for new ways to express the uncontrolled nature that is my own inner truth, I am sure I will continue to create work that reflects these paradoxes that surround us. My studio is a laboratory for this creative urge, a place to delve unafraid into the unconscious and emerge with yet another way to see life in all its magnificence contradiction. To contradict a common cliche, I have discovered that what you see is not what you get, and for that I am continually grateful.