There are tendencies and inclinations within my artistic practice, but no absolutes. I simultaneously follow several distinct paths of inquiry ranging from serial narrative images to studies in color and pattern. Bouncing between approaches may imply a lack of focus, but the inverse is true. I have an active and scattered mind and am a person of many interests and strong opinions so my artistic output mirrors my personality perfectly. Regardless of the differences that sometimes exist in the outward appearance, there are common threads running through all that I make. Even work that seems more decorative than content-laden is contemplative in its creation.
I primarily use collage and printmaking to create (mostly) two-dimensional works that address the promise and fallibility of humankind. An analog exists between the means I use to develop (often fragile) works on paper and our treatment of the planet and its inhabitants. Pattern and repetition have emerged as central elements within my compositions. The first is informed by my unremittant distillation of the splendor found in the natural world, the need for order imposed by humankind, and the resulting discord. While the latter is derived from humanity’s inability and unwillingness to learn from the past. Inclusive use of color makes additional reference to nature and the developed world while also alluding to the difficulties confronted by human beings in the 21st century. The active, maximal compositions further reflect this anxious outlook. Although often thematically heavy, my manner of creating is always playful and intuitive. This embedded contradiction reinforces the oft-conflicting emotions informing the work.
Language has been weaponized in contemporary society, the tenor and content of the overwhelming amount of information (verbal and written) we encounter daily is distressing. As a response I’ve found it appropriate, and cathartic, to incorporate text into my work. The additive and subtractive techniques I employ to construct images provide a unique opportunity to selectively challenge or reinforce the meaning of words and characters to convey, alter, and obscure messaging.
Aligning my lifestyle with my values is an ongoing endeavor, but I have adopted numerous ways to dampen the detrimental impact of my artistic practice on the environment. My collages and paintings use waste inks, imperfect prints, and other materials I collect. Instead of creating only one image from intaglio plates, I reuse them. This not only reduces material consumption, but the plates are like a palimpsest and the visible image “history” adds a layer of visual interest while also fortifying ideas about development, land use, and the malleability of perspective addressed in my work. When I construct a frame, I use found wood pulled directly from the waste stream.
Whether the content embedded in my work is easily extracted or remains elusive is less important to me than its sensory impact. As human beings in the twenty-first century, we are confronted with many ugly distractions. My ultimate goal as an artist is to create works that are visually appealing and implore prolonged study; providing a momentary, beautiful distraction. Art contains the power to enchant, it can separate the viewer from all context and provide an undefinable but beneficial type of nourishment. For me, that reason alone makes the creation of appealing visual objects a valid pursuit.
I adore dogs, and animals and usually prefer them to people. I am a meme enthusiast. I love (and hate) playing golf and fantasy football. When the weather is warm here in Minnesota, I cannot be outside enough. Much of that time is spent tending to my garden beds.
Pictured at left is me and Ester amongst some goldenrod, summer 2020.