The images undergo a painstaking process of addition and elimination. References are layered, in full or in part. What was black and white becomes color, what was transparent becomes opaque, what was added becomes subtracted and scraped away. Qualities of light and surface are completely altered. Nothing is sacred; nothing is precious. They are controlled and released, structured and intuitive. In this way they have become a powerful metaphor.
This new body of work did not start out with radical change in mind. A renewed interest in subjective color provided the departure point out of my “Warning Signs” series in 2011. Thus began my exploration of animal subjects as metaphorical characters caught in a staged drama, alerted to unseen dangers outside of the visual field. Through an evolution of painting and many avenues of thought, these “(Un)Natural Habitats” paintings have become something greatly departed from what was before.
We live in dangerous times. Daily reports and dialogues alike present us with an ongoing list of threats, scares and warnings that color the way we live, creating an edge and static in the background that often makes it difficult to remain comfortable and still for long. These real or imagined dangers also promote a compulsion to protect the ones we hold dear.
The characters in my paintings inhabit beautiful spaces that are also a bit dark and cautious. Alert. Ready. There is also a sense that things are not always as they seem, a questioning of the ‘real’, a borrowing from natural history dioramas and retouched photographs.
In the end these paintings represent my yearning to trust, protect, and remain optimistic, even in times where anything can change, without warning.