Drawing begins with an interrogation of appearances, as John Berger once said. I am interested in how appearances involve both looking and seeing, and how both processes inevitably get entangled with interpretations along with other patterns performed at the deeper levels of unconscious experience. As I make drawings, I am therefore aware that I play the role of interpreter. As such, drawing for me is a practice of investigating—interrogating—the interpretive lenses through which I construct meaning. I am interested in how these lenses are active expressions of conscious and unconscious projections of personal, cultural and historical schemas, symbolic representations, narratives and internalized social scripts filtering perception. As such, I am interested in tracking how my own values, assumptions and worldviews show up in the interdependent processes of imagining, cognizing and making. This requires a curiosity about how perception functions; how raw data from the senses become sifted, connected and woven into story, history, belief and patterns of experience that can be recognized as self, other and world. The images I make are artifacts of these investigations.
The early work included both sculpture and drawing. I was wrestling with existential paradoxes in modern human experience, such as how capacities for innovation and care are entwined with powers to repress and destroy. In so doing, I was curious about the psychological, political and contemplative tones that specific gestures, archetypal forms and cultural artifacts can arouse. The trajectory of my early work abruptly ended in 1992 when I was diagnosed with a serious illness. During the next several years I retreated from the activities of an exhibiting artist to pursue contemplative disciplines and various healing modalities. This period would greatly influence my future work. In addition to restoring my health, it allowed me to study perception and experience through insight traditions and practices. Since returning to the studio in 2001, I have continued to engage and expand on the themes from the early period through my interest in the phenomenology of experience as an art making praxis.
Historically, the making and viewing of portraiture has investigated the ways through which we identify each other and ourselves. Through making large-scale charcoal drawings, I am interested in how portraiture can provoke and deepen what it means to see and be seen. As such, I explore the interplay between interpretation, recognition and experience, looking to both evoke and disrupt possible patterns of interpretation. In so doing, I hope to invite awareness into noticing the constructed qualities of how we see, respond to and therefore create and recreate our world(s). The large scale of the drawings is one feature of this exploration. The scale allows the images to become theatrical, offering an added element to my interest in how memory and story telling create and recreate meaning and identity. Another feature is the drawing technique of gathering/organizing small marks, which, in and of them selves do not carry meaning. I explore the fragile dimension of recognition in relationship to scale and proximity, seeking to draw out qualities of intimacy and the phenomenology of the inter-subjective encounter. In a shrinking and ever evolving world, contemporary portraiture becomes an important catalyst for dialogue that enables and supports an engagement of both our diversity and interdependence.