My artistic lineage goes directly back to the roots of abstract expressionism. My instructor, Gordon Smith, was taught by important Bay Area painter Elmer Bischoff, who was on faculty at the University of California Berkeley with the likes of Richard Diebenkorn and Clyfford Still in the 1940s.|
Still, of course, was an important if reluctant member of the so-called “New York School” in the 1940s and 50s, along with Jackson Pollock, Willem deKooning, Mark Rothko, Franz Kline and many others of note.
Diebenkorn and Bischoff headed up the Bay Area painters, who alternated between figurative and abstract expressionism.
This lineage has deeply affected my artistic sensibility and my approach to painting, and I feel fortunate and honoured to be a product, to some degree, of such an esteemed group.
My work is inspired and informed by locations ranging from lava flows and glaciers, to grass and sage covered prairies, to manicured seaside parks, to urban sprawl. The natural or built environments are used as starting points from which each painting evolves and transforms, until representational elements are often subdued by aesthetic impulses and considerations. My goal is to create an image filled with vitality and stated in as few brush strokes as necessary. I’ve found that once the inexplicably “correct” strokes have been executed, petting or tidying the paintings only detracts from their vigor. Paint inherently runs, drips and bleeds, and I find much of the expressive potential and beauty in this very fact.
My recent works explore the physical, formal and/or psychological elements of cities. The works range from what could be interpreted as very positive, brightly-coloured renderings filled with optimistic vitality and a hint of nostalgia, to darker and more sombre depictions of sterile, deserted concrete canyons and a ominous sense of isolation and alienation. For me, the intriguing aspect of cities is the coexistence and duality of these seemingly disparate characteristics: the yin and yang of urban existence, so to speak. In this sense, the viewer is invited to interpret each painting in his or her own way.