I was schooled as a painter but for ten years, I worked exclusively with small format (S-8 & 16mm) silent films. These were, for the most part, film-as-film abstractions, non-narrative efforts more closely akin to absolute music. Over a hundred were completed. My camera's macro lens allowed an intimacy with objects that went beyond their conventional identity. Issues of color, light and movement became an obsessive new world, a new way to see.
Following film-making, I returned to a related hybrid of sorts; collage painting. After some false starts, wood panels (technically called oriented strand board) became the 'support' of choice. Added to the mix of acrylic paint and inks, I used other materials that would generate marks, lines and transparencies. Objects such as decals (handmade transparencies of photographic images with the paper removed), hair, seaweed, thread, feathers, petals, onion skins, strips of movie film, tape, stencils and crushed cans provide image. After having bleached, painted, taped onto and scrapped into many of my later films -- some chopped into thousands of pieces then rejoined by splices -- this process of manipulation/collage became a personally embraced vocabulary and ultimately means for the newer paintings.
I think of the surfaces of these collage paintings as being 'built', puzzle-like, with objects as image and among those objects, I would include pieces of color/shapes of paint, chiseled 'removes', all collage materials and recycled pictures from magazines. The latter I now combine with decals made from my own paperless photographs.
I need to devise paintings that, in the making and without warning, shift, change, even reverse original intentions. Paintings that fit certain intuitive criteria and invert others. The activity of making, that is, the “process” itself should provoke, blind-side, help find things. I believe discovery is the core reason any art gets made. Making is the search. Intentions achieved, (original or revised), become the prize.
The content of this work often makes oblique references to findings in music, writing or others' art that has affected me. I'm also sensually attracted to wet-looking, deeply saturated colors; details clotted with information in decayed and veined foliage, worn passages, underwater stones or aerial views of erosion and tidal flats. I'm drawn to coded sources like maps, navigational charts, board games, blue prints, x-rays, herbarium displays, musical notation, manuscripts, handmade signage and graphic aspects of cultures beyond my own.
These pictographic elements trigger evocative sensations of something understood beyond the literal. They intimate a commonality, a sharing from another time, other parts, lost thoughts. This is, in a manner, somewhat similar to the method taught at The Actors Studio called “sense memory” which relies on recall. Jung also dealt with this connection of a favored object misplaced, belongings left in childhood then later remembered in adulthood. Much in art is made from recallings, conscious or otherwise.
My eventual return from films to painting meant activating a single 'frame' with sustained dynamics and meaningful content that would hopefully provide a complex, interesting read. Good painting has, in addition to the unexpected, a constellation of points and voids, spatial layers, as well as metaphoric or associative offerings. Of course there are those that do it with either more or less.
Overall, my intention is to produce an abstraction with presence and ambiguity; a combining image that has open-ended possibilities, something that looks like language but isn't always, something that has meaning but avoids definition. If art has a purpose, it may simply be to provide new possibilities... or get in the way of what's expected.