artist statement

My work is primarily inspired by waterfalls and constellations, and in the past two years has been focused on connecting my painting process to my subject in a metaphorical as well as literal sense. I pour paint over the canvas, like water flows over a cliff, or pour layers of paint on the canvas, like nebulous gases in the night sky. In both of these series I've been interested in subtle shifts of color, transparency that produces depth, and paintings which have new levels and new shades whenever you look at them.

In 2014 I took a trip supported by a Richter Summer Fellowship to visit waterfalls in Virginia and West Virginia. That trip and the artifacts of it are still a primary source of inspiration in my artistic practice. Waterfalls have a movement and activity not typical of other landscapes, and imaging that movement and that power has been the challenge which drives my Waterfalls series. When I first began the series my paintings were strictly representational, but my results frustrated me because they still didn't communicate the power and presence I had experienced at the actual waterfalls. The following fall, through a series of happy accidents, I began literally dripping paint over the top of the canvas, allowing the cascade of viscous paint to mimic the cascade of water over a cliffside. It produced a depth, intensity, and feeling that conveyed what I had experienced.

Simultaneous with the development of the waterfall series, I began investigating depictions of the night sky. This has become the Constellations series of paintings. The two projects became connected unexpectedly. The transparency of water creates a unique sense of obscured depth in waterfalls, and the night sky also has this kind of obscured depth, as well as a sense of monochromacity that transitions into great ranges of color. Where the waterfall paintings use gravity to let the paint fall down the canvas, the constellation paintings use gravity in a different way. I lay them flat on the ground and pour successive layers on top, tilting the canvas as needed. The result is a visual pooling and merging of color that I feel creates the sort of complex shapes present in views of the Milky Way.

At the same time I haven't abandoned representational work in favor of abstract expressionism. I'm still finding ways to better communicate the emotional aspects of natural scenes in representational work.