Artist’s Statement - February 2007

The extremely horizontal format of these paintings, echoing the proportions of sentences or sentence fragments, signifies the influence of language – how texts permeate and mediate most of what we see and understand.  My approach to abstraction enfolds various issues from the modernist past (particularly formalist aesthetics and the “inward turn”) into an engagement with photography and contemporary image culture, appropriating fashion and commercial photography as major texts within this culture.  By appropriating negative spaces between and around the limbs and torsos of models in commercial advertising and fashion layouts (some of the mediating texts within image culture), I am exploring ideas about the body and the self -- how we perceive, interpret, and construct.  I don’t believe in a clean break between the body (where aesthetic responses are instinctually based) and thought (the seat of language).  These two entities/modes of perception and response are intertwined in conscious and unconscious ways, often echoing or appropriating the other’s methods.  Paradox is often the result – a complex state of things that often eludes categorization.

I am interested in the paintings’ relative visual simplicity, their quiet strangeness and capacity to raise difficult questions.  The ideas and questions triggered by the paintings become quite complex, often leading to a range of issues that tend to be either paradoxical or dialectical:  presence and absence; fact and fiction; exterior and interior; physical and metaphysical; the body and language; and, high and low.

The work also suggests an oblique social critique through its transformation of consumer culture’s manufacture of desire into a more complex sense of consciousness, perception, and desire.