Art emerges from play with materials of no apparent value (paint, a lump of stone, a rough log, a scrap of wood found on a trail) transforming them to tell a story or to speak of a truth. I might be drawn to the absolute presence of a block of stone and rework it to evoke a quiet moment suspended in space and time, held in a soft skin countered by the rough natural surface. Because I revel in the real, the actual, the tangible, I like to take the objective presence of a plain log of wood or a block of stone or a piece of paper pass it through a filter of traditional formalism, be it primitive, classical, gothic, or baroque, and then stream it again through my own sensibility, shaped by minimalism and abstract expressionism, to find at last a graceful gesture, curve, or line. Above all, I delight in the scrap of wood, a tiny carved figure, the paper to be molded around the piece of plywood which can in turn be pierced or layered.
But then there is the dramatic horizon line of the world Out West. Who are we in relation to that stretch of the horizon out to the east over the endless prairie? The horizon line speaks to me of the boundless possibilities of the imagination but also of the importance of what is right here in front of us – the immediacy of the found piece of wood, worn by years of weather, spotted by the trail as we strike out early in the morning. Or maybe the sight of someone else in the distance, a sudden curiousity about who that is out there. That moment of seeing brings that person or object to the here and now and disrupts the logic of “perspective,” that system of rational measuring in relation to the pictorial horizon line. So I play off that schema. What is far away like a tiny figure, suddenly leaps forward from the picture plane as the foreground shrinks away creating a shifting back and forth between the way a sculpture shares the three dimensional world we live in and the painting’s power to project an illusion of distant space.