My work follows in the long tradition of painting. For me painting is the primal impulse to mark. It’s a visual record of the mind, the body, and the human spirit. It’s about a need to both create and to destroy. Maybe it’s out of sheer frustration that I paint, maybe it’s out of a need to violate or to contradict, or possibly, it’s simply about the pure enjoyment of mark-making, either way, there is a strong feeling present and I feel compelled to react to this feeling.
The content in my work is often ambiguous and rooted in a surrealistic trust of intuition. The work is related to the gestalt, an incompleteness that suggests rather than illustrates. In some works an obvious image appears, other pieces are less obvious and are often layered with fragmented ideas, incomplete thoughts, and multiple meanings. Each painting usually begins without a preconceived image. They begin with a series of random mark-making. Marks, images, textures, and colors often appear, then are revised, altered, corrected, rejected, and at times even accepted. The works are based on an improvisational search for correctness with an emphasis on documenting the history of the painting. They are a response to the physicality of painting, a love of materials, an appreciation of process, and to the seduction of surface. The paintings allude to the beauty of decay, to violation, and to vulnerability. They are excavations, a palimpsest of surfaces layered with a variety of materials...dry pigments, acrylics, tar, fabrics, oils, bonding agents, along with different clays dug from the Georgia soil. From these materials figurative images are often unearthed. At other times paintings are often left devoid of specific visual references completely and rely solely on pure abstraction. They are surfaces that attempt to reveal a sense of time and a certain kind of depth, a depth that is both physical through build up and layering as well as emotional depth through destructive scarring. In the end the works are about a search, a search for truth and a search for correctness through the act of painting.
Personal Teaching Philosophy
There are no absolutes in art. Art is something that cannot be measured. It’s something that’s relative, subjective, and even cultural. For me education is all about empowerment…empowering the students to think, to be self-reliant, to be independent, and to be responsible for their own education. As a teacher my most important responsibility is that of a “role model” and because of this, I work in the studio with my students. I feel that’s it’s important for the students to see the work ethic that is required. It’s also important for them to see that creating art requires courage, commitment, revisions, failure, and even frustration which inevitability or occasionally may lead to an opening for resolution. Any professional accomplishment that I achieve in the studio only serves to validate my instruction in the classroom. As Robert Henri, the Ashcan School painter and great American teacher, said, “Don't take me as an authority. I am simply expressing a very personal point of view. Nothing final about it. You have to settle these matters for yourself.” Basically, what I’m saying is that education requires a strong work ethic. Education is there if you are willing to work for it. Grading in art is impossible, it’s even superficial, but it is a requirement in our educational system so we have to deal with it. Remember, what you put into a class is what you get out of a class – that is real education.