Gouache, Encaustic, Oil and Acrylic Paintings
With the aspiration that my work is interesting and beautiful in equal measure, my paintings reflect my fascination with the concepts, metaphors and images derived from astronomy, astrophysics and systems theory. I am influenced as well as by the micro and macro worlds of the biological, geological, topographical and by scientific concepts such as string theory, fractals and self-organizing systems. Since I am a gardener, floral allusions sometimes crop up in the mix. I experience each painting as a visual meditation that combines elements of these influences.
The imagery that concerns me most is that of the Earth from space and of deep space, and because, when painting in encaustic, I work in a medium that uses thermal energy and air currents, as well as constantly changing from a liquid to a solid state, I am able to make use of some of the same forces that shaped the planet and the formation of the cosmos: Consequently, I see myself as participating in acts of co-creation rather than representation or the making of non-objective work.
I have been most influenced by the work of Richard Diebenkorn, Helen Frankenthaler, Joan Mitchell, and among contemporary painters, Emily Mason, Brian Rutenberg and Frank Bowling.
I am a full-time experimental studio artist whose practice is focused on abstract work in acrylic and in encaustic, the latter, a highly-pigmented combination of beeswax and damar resin (the resin allows the finished work to become very hard and develop a high sheen). I paint on cradled basswood panels, usually in a square format, works up to 36x36 inches.
I experience each painting as a visual meditation that combines elements of all of the sources of my images, and I see my task as paying close attention to what is unfolding so that I can alter my process and the materials I'm using in service of an aesthetic that’s been evolving over a lifetime of visual experience.
“What constitutes integrity in a work of art?” is one question that guides my inquiry, as does my deepest-felt objective, to create works that are interesting and beautiful in equal measure. As I complete a work I continually stop and ask myself, is this truly interesting? is it beautiful? I’ll leave the final assessment to others, since I don’t think the answer is something I can know, but I do keep these questions uppermost in mind as a means of coaxing my work forward.”
On numerous occasions, I’ve exhibited my work in juried and in open group exhibits, and I’ve had three solo exhibits, two of those curated. My work has been shown throughout New England and in New York, and some of my paintings have been published along with my poems. During the period 2012 to 2013, my work has been featured as cover art on five books and journals. I have a painting in the permanent collection of The Florence Griswold Museum and in private collections on both the East and West coasts of the U.S. and in Great Britain.
Occasionally I like to paint what are called "hard-edge abstracts" such as "Minute Circumference of the Single Brain" that's on this page. I find it very calming to work with pure geometric forms, moving them about, deciding what shape will go behind or in front of another, what colors, combined with shape, will make pleasing patterns. Painting in this manner, is particularly important to me when there's a lot of chaos or confusion going on in my day-to-day life: here, on the canvas or hardboard, is the world I can control, whereas that real world, the 'out there' world, I can't control.
Images of the Earth from space and of deep space, have newly impacted the human imagination. Interpreting these ideas and images abstractly strikes me as a means for artists to contribute to how we humans regard ourselves in the scheme of things. Hopefully, that view will become less egocentric than it has been.
I put my formal education to use (B.A. Goddard College, M.A. & Ph.D., Brandeis University) by teaching for several years as a Professor of Literature at Eastern Connecticut State University and in the MFA program at the University of Southern Maine. After a long career writing, teaching and publishing poetry, I work now as a full-time studio artist in a small New England village on the Connecticut River.