This exhibition marks the 20th anniversary of my first show of paintings which occurred at the Bolden Gallery on 4th St. in Charlottesville, VA during August, 1988. The gallery is no longer there, but I can trace a clear path from this moment to that spot.
One of the paintings, Incident at Surfers Paradise, was in that first show. In 1984, I began to make paintings by drawing the imagery on a canvas with a pencil and then carefully coloring it in with acrylic paint. The style is awkward and the subject matter tends toward naïve notions of the exotic. Although the process was tedious, I was enthralled by the “magic” of creating the picture, of being able to leave this world and enter a new one of my own making.
Bolstered by that show, I entered the MFA program in painting and printmaking at VCU in 1989. To make my pictures look more realistic, I began to develop imagery from photographic sources. A stylistic hybrid emerged distinctly characterized by improbably juxtaposed visual elements presented in a somewhat convincing quasi-realism. My teachers instructed me to paint everything out and start again. And again. They discouraged the use of photo imagery and suggested that I go back to creating original material, but, instead of using the “coloring book” technique, I might reverse the process by laying down fields of colors and then drawing into them with paint.
After receiving the MFA in 1991, I returned to Charlottesville and
continued to paint in a studio at the McGuffey Art Center. Over the next three years, I completed two major bodies of work and began to exhibit extensively throughout the state. The first, Two People in a Room in a City, uses the color red to express the estranged relationship between a man and a woman as the city in which they live disintegrates in a conflagration. The second, The Pool, uses the color green to express the alienated state of an insomniac wandering throughout the night in an abandoned swimming pool.
Other series have followed in the intervening years. My interests
have always been in the human figure, the psychology of relationships,
the absurd, the expressive power of color, in the use of texture to suggest rhythms, the realm of the supernatural, and the meaning of the mark.