Artist's Statement: 2018 Solo Exhibition

Held Series - Red
Held Series - Red
© 2017

Many artists and writers include rituals and habits in their studio practice. Over time and through artist residencies I have come to hone my own. Poetry has been a studio companion of mine for years. Considering the parallels in poems and paintings serves as a great muse -- and influenced the title of this show, "Selected Poems and Short Stories."

Trips to Scandinavia (Finland, Sweden, Norway, and Denmark) and Ireland provided a library of scenery that served as source material. Reproducing those landscapes was not the primary goal. Rather, like poems and stories that contain far more than the words included, working on these paintings has reshaped my memories of those trips.

The earliest works here are the two complementary compositions from the Kamppi Chapel in Helsinki, Finland, known as the Chapel of Silence. The contrasts drew me in – warm and cool tones, shapes that pushed out or dropped back, light that came from within. The watercolors seek to convey my experience of being in that space; similar to the way some of my favorite poems transport me beyond their setting. I found countless options for the orientation of the two images and played with rearranging them to tell different stories. The interactive piece included in the exhibition, “Suggestion Board/Suggestion Box,” encourages the viewer to do so as well.

The “Held Series” was conceived as a group of water-scapes. These oils on panels are land and sky-less croppings of secured watercraft across Scandinavia. Tethered, connected, and contained, with ropes serving as slack or tense lines, for me these images are visual poems or story elements. Likewise, the oil painting “Not the Same,” is a play on variations in connecting. The rope floats and their reflections dance across the cloud-strewn water.

The multiples and series included in the show are clearly intended to be seen “in relation” to each other. The stories in this exhibition are about constructed and random relationships. Compositions include structures and surfaces that appear intentionally assembled for their possibilities, more than for their replication of the scene. I am interested in “where” the viewer goes. Visually, where across the 2-D surface does the eye go when there is no horizon? Where, does the image take viewers – compositionally, geographically, or internally? When I edit out or change elements, I do so to create multiple readings beyond the details.

While water continues as familiar subject matter, the images I select for painting really just serve as platforms for exploring surface, light, reflection, and the relationship of the elements included.