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Artist Statement

My subject matter revolves around the figure as both a symbolic idea and visual reality. Different avenues of exploration with figures as metaphors are represented in the divers series, the figures with birds, and the portraits. The following is a statement on each vein of these figurative works: In my series of divers, I explore the themes of control, surrender, struggle, and destiny. By freezing the action of human figures caught tumbling in space, I attempt to address humanity's existential concerns for meaning and order. In much the same way as a diver works with and against gravity in order to achieve artful grace and precision, the figures in my paintings become metaphors for the intersection of the human and the divine. I find that out of this tension, suspended moments of beauty and grace are revealed.

These paintings were an exploration for me of the dichotomy of free will and destiny. Even in their precise and controlled movements, the divers themselves strain against pervasive natural forces. Despite the engagement of muscle and speed, the figure is always falling through space. This relationship speaks to the assertion of human will in the context of circumstances beyond one's control. I suspend the motion of the figure in an ambiguous space which more readily allows a metaphoric reading. In some of the compositions, the handling of the paint hints at a substantive presence that fluctuates from receding in the distance to more abstract smudging, textural use of palette knife, and dripping of paint that push against and around the figure. I am interested in the juxtaposition of figurative rendering and ambiguous space, and in the emphasis on the tactile surface of the painting.

For the series of figures with birds, I was seeking to create an image that spoke to a supernatural presence and its intersection with people. The birds alighting on the figures or hovering nearby are metaphors for a divine presence, so the visual suggestion is one of internal revelation or an meditative state of being.

In the portraits, I work from a combination of photo sources and from life, describing my visual observations in a fairly direct way. But I seek to counteract straight-forward realism by keeping the handling of paint loose, and I find that more experimental and gestural use of paint surrounding the figure activates the space further. I feel that the artist's response to a figure can carry a painting's content, and have gained confidence in its ability to speak in a variety of tones to the viewer. I am drawn to the push and pull of my tendency to describe versus to express in various paint media.