Echoes of the Grand Canyon
I’m exploring not only the stunning images that nature makes, but also the shifting quality of memories, the ways they become layered upon one another.
The poet Elizabeth Bishop insists, “The art of losing isn’t hard to master,” but as soon as she says that, you know she’s lying.
As we grow old, the questions of appearance and disappearance, the possibility of fading away and becoming background—these become hard to avoid. Aging brings us closer to the boundary between being and unbeing, brings us to an ambiguous territory, where it may happen that forms have vanished, leaving you with nothing to grasp. Or they have not yet come into being.
We usually gravitate to what’s moving and full of contrast and drama. How is it that the background, the boring parts, can become the foreground? How is it that nothingness acquires texture and heft?
My work relates to that of Bill Jensen, his use of “empty” space, his Buddhist references, his deeply textured surfaces. His work seems to ask whether we have importance in the universe, or is it our lack of significance that is of significance?
Emergent, inchoate. It is paradoxical that forms can appear to be emergent when really the work has undergone a process of paring down, reduction. The events and attachments of a lifetime must be expunged in places to make space. The simplicity that emerges is not the same as original innocence.
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Some of my paintings from the past several years.
Canyon suite – from the bottom of the Grand Canyon