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What I look for most in my paintings is transparency of method – I want the viewer to see what I did, the rules I followed and the accidents that happened along the way. I also care about the materiality of paint and brush -- to distinguish my pictures from anything made with other methods or technologies. My paintings are improvisations based on rules, which I repeat over and over to see what will happen. Something will always make the painting different. In particular, I will be different, because each painting changes me.
I have posted three kinds of paintings here: Line paintings, Weave paintings, and Scratch paintings.
The Line paintings were a reaction to earlier paintings based on colored pencil drawings. In particular, I reacted to the awkwardness of beginning or terminating a line on the canvas, which left a mark that seemed alien to the “line” landscape. So, in all the Line paintings, the dominant lines bleed off the edge of the canvas, leaving only signs of entry and exit. There is another class of lines that I do early on in the painting that are more like writing or bird tracks, which I often do with my eyes closed, moving my arm in a some repeated motion. I think of these marks as the unpredictable and “messy” part of the painting, which, if seen close up, would appear as ordered as the bigger lines.
The Weave paintings reflect years of weaving sculptures out of sheet aluminum. With aluminum, you can weave under-over-under. In painting, you can’t. Every stroke is on top. I do not try to give the illusion of a weave by “filling in.” My weave depends on the sequence of the strokes, the “paint load” of the brush, and everything that happens when one stroke crosses another.
The Scratch paintings represent my continuing effort to make lines in paint that are fast, thin, and smooth. Here, I accomplish that by taking away paint to reveal what’s underneath. The speed of the stroke allows me to make marks as I would with ballpoint pen or colored pencil. I am trying to exploit the minds of the hand and wrist.
Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture
Yale University, BA, Fine Arts