Artwork amidst COVID-19

A crisis like no other.
As the world sequestered itself, it was a time to inward: Literally and figuratively. I found myself in Mexico for a scheduled writing retreat for my book in the works called, “The Beautiful Business.” This was right before the world shut down. China was just then being ravaged by the pandemic, and our borders in the US had not yet shut down.
During breaks from writing I looked out across the vast Pacific toward China and the unseen, I contemplated our relationship to the natural world; to our primal connection with all that nature offers: creation, destruction, rejuvenation, seasonality, growth, perpetual change, primal instincts.
The series of pieces are part of a series of pieces that explore the human connection to nature, all created amidst the COVID-19 crisis.
With an eye to the various brokenness of the world, past, and present, Toni Morrison instructs:
“This is precisely the time when artists go to work. There is no time for despair, no place for self-pity, no need for silence, no room for fear. We speak, we write, we do language. That is how civilizations heal.
I know the world is bruised and bleeding, and though it is important not to ignore its pain, it is also critical to refuse to succumb to its malevolence. Like failure, chaos contains information that can lead to knowledge — even wisdom. Like art.”
Each piece here is 12×9″ oil on wood panel.
“Song of Trees”
“Song of Trees” is an exploration of our primal connection with the rejuvenating power of nature. Its title is derived from the book by naturalist author, David George Haskill.
“On Second Thought”
“On Second Thought” explores the creation-destruction cycle of all things in the natural world, including the seasonality and temporal nature of life.
“Home Range”
“Home Range” is a painting that examines our anchored paradoxical connection to close loved ones, such as spouses, family and close friends, that create a sense of belonging—and our singular stance in the world as an individual.
“Headful of Treats”
The constant abundance of nature offers us an abundance of “Headful of Treats.” This piece explores how nature is constantly providing nourishment and rejuvenation.

“Song of Innocence” (after Velázquez)

Song of Innocence” — 72”x60” oil on canvas, with mixed media

In Diego Velázquez seminal painting (the most critiqued painting in all of art history) “Las Meninas,” there is a pose and gesture of the artist in a state of pause—a wondering tilt of the head which acts as an invitation from the artist to stop and consider from a place of unknowing. This “Song of Innocence” is a stripping of our preconceived perceptions of whatever reality the viewer is facing. It the make-up of our complex and enigmatic life-making composition, we raise questions about reality and illusion, which creates an uncertain relationship between the viewer and the figure represented.

“Dance of Albion”

“Dance of Albion” – 72”x60” oil on canvas, with mixed media, 2019

“Man is All Imagination,” William Blake wrote, “God is Man & exists in us & we in him.” The “Dance of Albion” is a nod to Blake’s color print litho from 1794. “Albion” is Blake’s universal God-Man and carries an attitude of exaltation and crucifixion, a rebirth in the creation/destruction cycle. “Albion” also references Da Vinci’s “Vitruvian Man” whose outspread limbs touch the rim of the circle of reality, and (wo)man as the measure of all things.

/ Emergence / Series

“When I say artist I mean the one who is building things – some with a brush – some with a shovel – some choose a pen.”
— Jackson Pollack

/ Emergence / is a series of paintings that explore the elastic elements of change, metamorphosis and emergence—how the human experience is constantly forming and reforming. The series is intended to conjure the fluid, and sometimes uncertain, feelings of an evolution from one thing or state of being, to something completely new and different. It is intended to spark the questions and awareness of what a radical transformation entails. And to honor the struggle. Similar to how the caterpillar one day ceases eating, hangs upside down from a leaf or branch, and spins itself a safe, silky cocoon, molts into a shiny chrysalis. There, from its protective and private casing, the caterpillar drastically transforms its body, eventually emerging as a winged being of flight.

Subtle human forms and interactions captured in seen and unseen environments are painted within textured mixed media (oil paint, oil pigment mixed with cold wax techniques, graphite stick, oil pastel). Rich layers of paint applied with brush, palette knife and large flat edges are intended to reveal, conceal and expose symbolic, metaphoric and abstract imagery—inviting the viewer into a closer examination of image, color, texture and movement.

What emerges is an expression of our ever-evolving human journey of self discovery through our physical and non-physical surroundings.

The / Emergence / body of work is intended to invite the viewer on their own journey of self-discovery and metamorphosis.