STATEMENT I grew up in a house of optical phenomena. My father was a physicist with a specialty in optics (although neighbors claimed he worked at the Optical Department at Sears). Lasers, lenses, prisms, and holographs were plentiful; as were lessons on the natural world. In our house, a solar eclipse became a graduate level seminar. On long car trips, we passed the time with questions to stump Dad: Why was the sky orange, what caused hail, and how were tunnels built under the bay? (Incidentally, we refer to these questions now as "Tunnel Talk" questions).
BIOGRAPHY I begin my paintings with questions like those of "Tunnel Talk" times. What is the color of amber, iron-ore, pollen? How can wind and water be suggested? The paintings gradually grow in layers. In the strata of paint, the shape of a microscopic protein hovers beneath a planet's elliptical orbit and decorative ironwork cancels out dense foliage. It is these strange alliances between the common and uncommon, natural and synthetic that I find compelling to paint. The compressions, connections, and contradictions of the layers shape the personality of the painting. This knotted, painted combination forces a continual shift of attention among the many levels. I compare this to a single moment in landscape and the competing levels of activity. When I stand on Devonian limestone on the levee of the Mississippi, the barges and riverboats pass, herons fly, behind, a train noisily rumbles and streetlights flicker on, the smell of diesel fuel drifts in while rain clouds build. It's the density of experience that continues to raise questions and excite me as a painter.
Education INDIANA UNIVERSITY, Bloomington, IN., M.F.A. - Painting, 1988 TYLER SCHOOL OF ART, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA., B.F.A, Painting,1984 Professional Experience ST. AMBROSE UNIVERSITY, Davenport, Iowa, Professor, 1989-present UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS, El Paso, Texas, Visiting Professor, 1988-1989
My painting process is energized and transformed by study of the natural world. Exploring new ecosystems in uncommon environments is valuable visual and conceptual research. Living along the Mississippi flyway gives front door access to observe bird migration patterns. I love the puzzle of “finding” a particular species of warbler, such tiny gems of birds. I study their songs, their characteristic behaviors and their distinct coloring and wait for their arrival and sadly, departure. For me the most important aspect of birding is the time spent outside by the river or in a grove of trees. I watch light change, see reflections on water, look for movement in the trees. My work is informed by this exploration of light, reflection, water and patterns.
In the past three years I have had the opportunity to travel north to the Great Lakes of Superior and Michigan, the Upper Peninsula, Northern Wisconsin and the north shore of Minnesota. The exoticness of this landscape full of rivers, bogs, preserves, fens, falls and lakes. These diverse waterways have been a large source of inspiration for my most recent work. The driftless landscapes, endless floating other-worldly spaces, waterfalls with phosphorescent mists have entered my paintings and have become metaphors for our current pandemic era. The knotted, painted combinations force a continual shift of attention among the many levels. I compare this to a single moment in landscape and the competing levels of activity. It’s the density of this kind of experience that continues to raise questions and excite me as a painter.