"St Thomas", acrylic enamels and paper on canvas, 24" wide by 18" tall (60 x 45 cm). This picture pays homage to the music of tenor saxophonist Sonny Rollins, and expecially to his great 1956 jazz instrumental of that title.
The painting uses sign-painter's enamels: syrupy, vivid colors applied lavishly to the canvas to create a sense of tropical warmth and liveliness. Finer details are created with collaged paper, painted, textured, and cut to create a flow of lyrical linear forms that move across the image.
"Bessemer Jack (Ascends to Heaven)", 2018, acrylic, painted paper collage, on canvas. 16 x 20 inches (40 x 50 cm).
This piece is a tribute to the work of artist Jack Whitten, who died in January of this year.
Newspaper pages are painted in a variety of colors, then cut into small shapes and glued over a background of grays and black. The "tesserae" are layered, sanded, and in some places overlaid with a thick covering of tinted gesso, which is then sanded away to reveal the underlying layers.
The collage elements are attached and sealed with acrylic polymer, with a UV protectant added to protect the colors.
"Untitled (Trees)", 2018, acrylic and cut paper on MDF panel, 12 x 12 inches (30 x 30 cm).
Inspired by the hilly landscapes around my home, especially a small copse of angular, straight, young trees near my house. Over a freely-brushed acrylic background, painted paper (newspaper, kraft paper, and maps) is torn or cut and pasted into place to create the forms.
"Talktalktalk", 2018, acrylic and collage on MDF panel, 12x12 inches (30 x 30 cm).
Word fragments fly in vaporous clouds over an austere urban landscape.
"From the Faithless Time", 2018, acrylic and cut paper on canvas, 24 x 30 in (60 x 75 cm). The title comes from the the closing lines of the poem "Santorini" by George Seferis, whose title refers to the volcano that brought about the end of the great Minoan empire:
"... allow your hand, if you can, to travel
free yourself from the faithless time
sink whoever raises the great stones."
(From "Santorini", George Seferis, 1935; English translation by Keeley and Sherrard, 1964)
"Maiden Voyage", 2017, acrylic and paper on MDF, 20 x 20 inches (50 x 50 cm).
Inspired by jazz and by the idea of travel and exploration, this painting features lyrical, flowing figures in gray-blue, sky-blue, dark blue, purple, apple-green, yellow and red, flowing across a field of densely textured and angular layered grays and blues. A scatter of map fragments flows in a diagonal curve across the image, adding a literal touch.
The title comes from a 1965 album by pianist Herbie Hancock called "Maiden Voyage".
"Black Willow", 2017, acrylic and painted and cut paper on wood, 18" wide, 24" tall (45 x 60 cm).
The black willow, a common tree throughout the eastern half of north America, is something of an icon for me, evoking water, filtered sunlight, the gentle sounds and the flickering shadows of the riverbanks and fishing holes of my rural childhood. While the willow is a very real part of my personal landscape, it's also a tree that lives in folklore and literature (most notably in the exhilarating and terrifying story by Algernon Blackwood, titled simply "The Willows"). Rather than depict any single visual scene or personal recollection, I've attempted to convey this complex layering of memory, sensation, and fantasy.
While this picture might properly be categorized as a collage, I think of it more as a painting, in which the paint was applied to various papers and then layered into the final composition; in other words, the fragments cut from the colored surfaces and applied to the panel are my "brushstrokes".
As is often the case, my basic approach was inspired by the example of Paul Klee, with his adventurous use of materials and his profound sense of play. This particular work also draws from the organic pictorial language of Rex Ray, with a nod to the geometry and sense of illusory depth in the work of Irene Rice-Pereira.
"Jump", 2017, mixed media, 24 inches wide by 28 inches tall (60 x 70 cm).
Colored translucent tissue and painted paper are cut and layered with transparent acrylic over a broadly-brushed background of yellows and blues to create a dancing, energetic surface, suggesting sunshine, sky and springtime.
Although the color philosophy of Paul Klee is very much a part of this work, the style and technique are more closely tied to the improvisational approach of jazz. Visual rhythms overlap and flow through and past each other like the sounds of the various musicians in a jazz combo.
"CloudSkyCry", 2017, 22 x 28 inches (55 x 70 cm), mixed media on canvas.
In this picture I wanted to address a complex emotional state without giving way to sentimentality or hyperbole: the feeling is both melancholy (the rigid grids of gray and beige in the background) and also hopeful (the fluid blue and white shapes in the foreground). I used cut paper as a medium because of its ability to limit expression: the "message" is more focused, brushwork and palette are not a distraction. The surface is built up in layers, some sanded and polished, some left as is, to create depth and space, and the cut paper provides the surface with a tactility and texture that is unique to collage -- the viewer feels compelled to touch, as well as look.
"Charlotte Corday", 2016, ink and acrylic on MDF, 30 x 30 cm.
Inspired by the famous painting by Jacques-Louis David "The Death of Marat", this drawing refers to Charlotte Corday, the young woman who stabbed Marat to death in his bath as he was writing out his plans for what would come to be known as the Terror, in the aftermath of the French Revolution. Corday's act was inspired by her desire to free her country from the threat of a new tyranny that she believed Marat represented.
My use of an eagle's feathers relates to the quill pen that Marat was writing with at the time of his death, and to the idea of freedom represented by the bird's power of flight. Corday, at her trial and execution, was unrepentant, saying that she "killed one man to save a hundred thousand".