For the past 30 years I've been interested in making paintings that locate between the spaces of intuition and conception, between abstraction and depiction, and from framework to deconstruction. My concerns begin with the natural world, responding to light and shadow, shape and color. From there my interior, personal process gives shape to ideation, translating and rerouting it to image.
Currency, Artist Statement
On September 24, 2007 the president of Iran spoke at Columbia University amid protests and much controversy. I found the event, coverage and images of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad compelling and made some drawings of him from various Web–based news sources. Drawing his face connected me to him—I wanted to know more about his past as well as Iran's history. I've continued to draw the face of a world leader every day since then. My goal is to isolate that person and try to understand their behavior, to be attentive and present as a citizen of the world. Before beginning the portrait, I assign it a position on the tabloid-size paper according to my sense of optimism or pessimism regarding their behavior--the higher it is on the page, the greater my hope for world harmony. Thus, I'm delineating an ever growing, biased global event time-line. To underscore the diaristic nature of the undertaking, I hang the drawings in a calendar format, in monthly grids. After I complete the drawing I scan it, returning it to its digital beginnings and send it back into the Web, to a museum staff member, who then prints it and hangs on the gallery wall, so that it mirrors my journalism-meets-journal studio installation and practice.
The title, of the piece, Currency, most obviously references my desire and attempt to keep informed of and bear witness to, world events. We speak of an idea having currency meaning that it is widely accepted and circulated. The title Currency also refers to the scale of the portraits themselves, which might evoke a bank note or dollar bill portrait, an image of power and money entwined.
Flowers, Artist Statement
In the days following the death of my mother in 2022, lovely friends sent floral bouquets. Soon I began painting the flowers in various stages of life, from fresh, through bent and spent. Somehow painting the wilting stems with their innate pathos helped me to grieve. During the summer, friends who visited my studio often brought flowers from their own gardens—these seemed even more urgent to document. At first the paintings were sumi ink on paper—black and white. In painting them, I experience a stark beauty, a sadness, yes, but also the anticipation of renewal. In the course of time, the seeds from a handful of spent flowers may yield next year's field of echinacea. During the winter months I painted from the dehydrated flowers—their curves now angular. Once spring started unfolding, I knew I would paint the very first blooms (forsythia, crocus, and hellebores) and as spring grew into its fullness I tried to keep pace, painting what was blooming just out my door, nearly every day. Magnolia trees put out their blossoms—daffodils, tulips and irises broke through the dark earth. Spring bounded ahead of me! I continued to follow the flowers, responding to their theater. It's been a year now, and I'm still painting what is blooming right beside me.
Light Installations, Artist Statement
Light Installations, 2002-present
In the site-specific series Light Installations, light and shadow from nearby windows seem to be raking the walls of the gallery. The illusion, however, is a hand-painted trompe l'oeil shard, often situated in rooms with little or no natural light. In this work I rely on the viewers knowledge and memory of light intersecting space to raise questions of belief and doubt. These pieces are meant to give the viewer time to enjoy not-knowing, and to privilege questions over answers. By puzzling the physical senses (setting up the viewer to fail at identifying something as elemental as light), these paintings celebrate the pleasure of trying to understand those things just outside the grasp of physical intelligence.
Paper Rooms, Artist Statement
These sculpted paintings begin with a single piece of paper that I fold and cut to resemble a small room with windows. I then cast light into the room from an exterior source. Unfolding the room, I recall the places that received light when page was a box shape, and paint the light as I remember it. I embellish the memory by including an imagined exterior landscape. In this way, I think of the rooms as the retelling of an event, related to short stories and unreliable narrators.