Through drawing and graphic media, I explore the spatial, psychological, perceptual, and historical possibilities of land and dreamscape. I create invented spaces influenced by composites of personal memories along with imagination. Working with charcoal, graphite, colored pencil and pastel on paper, my imagery develops spontaneously during the act of making a composition. Marks and tone are applied with careful attention to the amount of pressure I exert on my substrate. I lay down my materials in thin veils to create forms that hint at the immaterial. I think of my images as apparitions; like early daguerreotypes, they are glimpses of scenes, moments or phenomena that flicker across the surface of a work. Like in Georges Seurat’s conte crayon drawings, the surface texture of a chosen paper acts as a participant in image generation. Using a sensitive scumbling technique, I “see” and then build forms out of the interplay of material on the pulp of the paper. This working method lends itself to the spontaneously generated nature of the pieces. Dots, dashes, swirls, and cloudlike forms, dance across the picture plane, mingling with star-shaped flowers, mountainous terrain, and flora.
My compositions are active spaces, alive with movement on both a microcosmic and macrocosmic level. Highly layered and detailed with multiple pockets of focus existing within a single work, they require a shift in the viewer’s perception and engagement. Paths of mark and value create movement in the drawings, which allow for a scanning participation rather than demanding a fixed viewing point. Trails of mark making and repetition of form create rhythms within a work that parallel natural phenomenon, such as a visualization of sound, wind, or other unseen forces. Color serves to evoke mood and distinct associations within drawings. Different colors generate different kinds of imagery. Blue can suggest a certain time of day or filter of light, while violet, some kind of reaction, such as a temperature warming. In my black and white work, I use both an additive and subtractive method of applying materials, starting either on a blank white sheet of paper or working off a toned ground. Through subtle manipulation of value, I work to evoke various associations, while considering the psychological implications of light and shadow.
My practice develops out of earlier studies of the aftermath of natural disasters on a stretch of endangered watershed along the Hackensack River in northern New Jersey that was a source of inspiration for my work for many years. The observation-based disaster series I created after witnessing scenes of a flooded and uprooted landscape were composed through a collaging of fragmented photo-based imagery. This series in turn developed into a series of imagined “disasters of the mind,” which gradually morphed into my current work: scenes of landscapes that fluctuate between the triumphant, born out of the rubble of disaster, and the vulnerable, before finding the light again. My processing of the natural world is highly subjective and leaves room for the viewer to bring their own interpretations and solutions to the work. This is a winding and looping path; it is not linear. As in life, multiple truths exist at once.