Throughout my professional life as an artist my interests have gone in several distinguishing directions, somewhat like spokes on a wheel. As the artist, to me they all relate and always have. In the 1980′s I created pastel paintings of very minimal suburbanesque architectural themes drenched in Southern California light. At the same time I was obssessed with pattern, dramatic surface building through mixed media that were pure abstractions. Concurrently I developed series based on psychological themes surrounding what was going on in my personal life through simple iconography. It was on retrospect that I realized I had been continuing to work within these themes and constructs with varying media and processes over the course of the last thirty years. Spokes on a Wheel.
Within the last decade I have been actively developing my landscape/architectural paintings that are set within a psychological framework. Simultaneously, and perhaps more currently I have returned with vigor to abstractions on nature. This body of work, by design is deliberate and contemplative. Recently I was interviewed by writer Jason Marak, Art Beat writer for The North Coast Journal for an article titled “Different But Not” where I discussed the history and core nature of the work. I have a full body of work of these abstractions being shown together for the first time that include pastels and some prints as well as a suite of oils/charcoal on canvas. The show is at Plaza, Arcata through February with an opening reception tonight January 11, from 6 to 9 during Arts Arcata! Whereas the representational work evokes a psychological landscape for me, the abstractions, or deconstructions, allow me to let go of those burdens, as interesting as they can be and float within the spiritual, visual and philosophical space of ideas and marks and color and light. They are about allowing the purely intuitive to stage the course of action. I imagine the process of creating these as a bit like a piece of the collective subconscious sketching the ideas of what nature would become. With the ending of the Mayan calendar and the planetary alignment that was 26,000 years in the making, these ideas interest me. And again, like spokes on a wheel, they always return to the center.
I’m coming to Sausalito this week to do business, spend some time with friends and family and oh yes, attend the opening reception of “Seasonal Landscapes” – a group show at Robert Allen Fine Art at 301 Caledonia Street. All are welcome to attend and I urge my collectors to come see this show as it may be the one time I get to see you in the coming months along with my work! The theme is seasonal landscapes but some of the work I am currently in love with traverse the seasons so what started to stretch to fall may have gone a little further -WHATEVER! This latest large landscape image has been begging me to be painted for months so at last I did and will be exhibiting it at the show. I hope to see some of you at the reception – this Thursday from 5:30 to 7:30. Its not supposed to rain that day so please come out and see this beautiful gallery!
Update 12/9: Good news/Bad news: The above painting “The Quiet Life” never made it into the show. It was sold soon after this was posted along with “November Rain.” Thank you Shelley Barry from Artful Solutions in San Ramon for placing these pieces and thank you to the lucky law firm for their decisive action! I will post more from this road trip including images from the show in a future post this week.
There has been a lot going on in the studio , not the least which is the culmination of an exhibition of a body of work at Sewell Gallery in my city of Eureka, California opening next week with a reception Saturday Night, October 6 during Arts Alive!
Its always interesting putting together a show, especially one like this that has been in the works for a while. Beyond the landscape theme there is a narrative surrounding each piece and the group of work as a whole. There were motifs I had been exploring throughout the past few years and more that were revealed when looking at the body of work as whole. The show title, ”My California Dream” came as organically as the paintings. In addition to many rides over our local scenic Highway 36, and 299, I had made several road trips from one end of the state to the other over the past few years crisscrossing every bit of California’s terrain, and the landscapes and architecture I depicted in the ensuing work reflected varying physical, emotional and spiritual states of my own psyche, from blissful happiness, contentment to sadness and overwhelm. Working out these subtle states of mind and emotional being through the depiction of a landscape is not new for me but its never been more apparent to me how an attempt at creating something beautiful is cathartic and satisfying on a deeper level. I find myself utilizing pattern (vineyards and farms and streams zig zagging through Elk River Valley) to achieve a sense of order. In a similar way, trees create a sense of stability and strength and the contrast of light emerging from darkness is a reflection of a changing inner mood. The richness of pastel pulls it all together for me. Like writing down a dream first thing in the morning, the goal is to capture the essence of the emotion quickly and spontaneously and then continue to work out the formal elements at a more measured pace.
Its always curious what jumps out at me visually — being visually aware is a constant for me when traveling and so the compositions that end up being painted are very deliberate if not randomly odd. A big round tree next to a farm on the highway, rain puddles in the rows of a fall vineyard, a bleached white house in the summer sun, a peek of blue siding beyond an overgrown garden peeking out like a secret, a single rain cloud hiding the sun over the ocean….there’s usually something else revealed with the longer gaze.
I find I am continually drawn to rural architecture, farm houses and barns. I might not be if they hadn’t become part of my everyday experience living in Humboldt County. Now I identify with them. There is a quiet solitude that attracts me to include specific architecture prominently in a painting, almost like portraiture.
Together, these paintings tell a story not of high drama but of the subtle ebbs and flows of life and its challenges and triumphs. I can remember exactly how I felt whenI painted every one of these paintings. The viewer may have a similar response or they may evoke something entirely different. For me, its a form of a solidified visual, psychological and spiritual memory, like a dream. It is my California Dream.Learn More