I make sense of the world through my drawings: dissecting, changing, reorganizing. The shapes in my work may appear non-referential, but there is a lingering sense of the familiar. I gather images from many subjects and sources (newspapers, art, nature, science and math), then make quick line drawings of the ones that excite me. In my studio, I start with a single shape, adding color and texture until it feels alive. I add more shapes one at a time, creating a set of compositional relationships that articulate a unified field of vision. I draw with colored pencils, using color, proximity, and position with a variety of marks (smooth gradation, controlled line, rough-edged) to create and resolve disparities. As I articulate and connect the seemingly random, chaotic parts, this careful process of building gives way, and the world that is gradually being revealed takes on a life of its own. The shifting shapes, compressed or altered, together with the changes in their spatial relationships, invite a new perception—a re-interpretation of the mediated world.
Periodically I have pondered when my life as an artist began. Was it in grammar school attending classes one day a week at the San Diego Museum of Art and seeing paintings by Rembrandt or Cotin on the way to the basement studios? Or in junior high school when I won two hundred dollars in a poster contest? Maybe it was in high school when I formed a profound psychological connection to painters like Mondrian and El Lissitzky.
I arrived in New York City in September 1970, and settled into a loft downtown, which put me in the epicenter of the art world. I loved meeting so many artists, and remember the late night discussions and arguments about the art that was being shown in the galleries and museums and of course the latest art world gossip.
In the eighties I assiduously began to draw rocks—of all kinds. I was fascinated by their variety of shape and their origins, from rocks I picked up on the beach in Maine to England and Avesbury Circle, to France and the alignments at Carnac. I was captivated by Korean ink paintings of mountains. I created paintings based on the original shapes of the rocks, that I then modified and abstracted into brightly colored compositions. I received a National Endowment Visual Artist Fellowship for the year 1989-90, as did my wife Myrel, in a different category. This recognition by our peers was extremely encouraging.
The work I began in the eighties continues to generate the ideas that brought me to the last four years and the newest work. I find fascinating shapes everywhere, even in photographs of disasters like forest fires, volcanoes or ice breaking up in the arctic, which have their own kind of mesmerizing beauty. Whenever I go to a museum I sketch shapes and shapes between shapes. I use clouds, smoke, elusive and rapidly changing and disappearing forms. The drawings transform these myriad shapes into an artistic world of my own making, by my choices, my combinations of shapes, colors and textures, arrangements and compositions, positive and negative space, through which I become your guide.