Artist Statement 05.08.2017
Through years of wrestling with ideas embedded in the contemporary potential of painting, I have arrived at an appreciation for the pared down clarity of the Still Life as a mode for production. Formerly, I’ve explored paint as a method of abstraction through its relation with Photography, through its inherent physicality and through the potential it has in the simplicity of composition. In a way I am still interested in these last stated modes yet I am overwhelmed by my return to Southern Louisiana.
It seems the most authentic thing I can do in the studio is to struggle with rendering in paint a vase full of flowers. This done from direct observation knowingly archaic and ritualistic, I’ve always been drawn to the moments of abstraction brought about by painting directly. Chasing after the “third thing” that we most appreciate in a painting of say Velazquez or Rembrandt the messy form of a collar or a shirt cuff. What we as viewers are seeing is not the actual cuff nor collar but also not a symbol, it is rather some “other” thing possessing it’s own physical presence.
I imagine the many little bungalows I have visited in childhood and now as an adult, with unkempt azalea bushes in the yard and Caribbean palms and elephant-eared flora. Inside little old ladies and gentlemen with coveralls and horn-rimmed glasses, if they were to appreciate my paintings of what type would they most appreciate? This is the question I am trying to answer by making these newest works.
These flowered paintings are made with a full knowledge of their neighbors in the contemporary art world. The ebbs and flow of painting’s place amongst performance art, installation and social practice set in a small Louisiana town. As well they are made with the goal of inclusivity. I make them for my Cajun elders as well as my own generation of young creative bohemians. These are modest things content to hang on small walls that are already crammed with rosaries and religious images or faded photographs from the mid 20th century.