My work has always been an antidote to the complexity and hectic pace of modern life. “My aim is to evoke the feelings of calm, humility, and intimacy that can be experienced in a moment of connection with our landscape,” are the words that have summed up my artist statement for years. I suspect that will ever be true. But in addition, this collection of paintings explores a new curiosity for me, a new pictorial challenge: Can I explore my interest in abstract, depth-defying composition while maintaining my allegiance to representational art?
The horizon, where earth meets sky, has a sort of pull. Being able to see the horizon—whether across a body of water or valley covered with a patchwork of crops—is both grounding and liberating; a distant horizon gives me space, room to breathe, to think, to imagine, as if a clear view equals a clear mind. But a horizon line also has a different kind of pull—one that creates a challenge for a painter: Strong, straight lines have a way of cutting a picture in two. At the very least, they have a tendency to advance in the picture, rather than recede, which becomes a problem to solve.
But I find these clear divisions of space compelling in an abstract way. There is a calmness, a simplicity to an unbroken line, a power to a building reduced to its most elemental rectangle-ness. And so the challenge for me has been to create deep space within an abstractly simple, strongly horizontal composition—one that doesn’t necessarily lend itself to depth. Atmospheric perspective has been my faithful friend in this endeavor, leaning heavily on subtle variations in warms and cools in a tonalist palette. I also have looked more closely at rendering the subtle details and complexities in foregrounds, which always ends up being the most meditative time at the easel. And most importantly, I have tried to stay true to whatever it was that intrigued me about these images initially—an abstract “shape-i-ness,” a fleeting moment of light, a feeling of vastness—the essence of what I hope these paintings convey.