Spring 2011 (Chapters 1 & 2)
I am honing a discipline – behaviourally, intellectually, technically, and formally – striving to realize an impossible union between sophistication and raw intuition. Painting is a process like dance, kung fu, meditation, or true play. It is dynamic and multifaceted dialog between self and medium; abstract and concrete. The challenge of building material proof of an authentic, intentional, and deeply paradoxical encounter forces the artist to acknowledge and celebrate his own limitations while simultaneously struggling to go beyond them. Good painting resonates these kinds of tensions and rebuts categorical comprehension, embracing communication that embodies and denies structure.
My distinct influences range from Gestalt psychology to Girl Talk mashups, motorcycle philosophy to Banksy to Bruce Lee. I am fascinated with color, symbol, the creative act of seeing, and the interaction between part and whole. My art is meant to engage in conversation with that of other artists and to reciprocate the inspiration I’ve found in nearly all aspects of experience.
Professor Amer Kobaslija has been a profound and invigorating mentor, and his guidance has invaluably imprinted my study and practice. Among much else, I have learned that finishing a piece is much harder than the first mark. This art serves as a kind of capstone to my Bowdoin liberal arts education, marking a transition between chapters of my own development as a student and as a creator. These works reflect the beginning of an obsession.
Winter 2011 – Summer 2012 (Chapters 3 & 4)
In the winter of 2011 I returned home from Munich, having spent half a year working for management consulting firm Oliver Wyman. It was good work, and if I weren’t a painter I would still be there. After several months at home, I moved to Brunswick, Maine, to be close to another incredible mentor and artist, John Bisbee. I spent the summer making art in a portion of his studio and helping him sometimes with his projects too.
I have been fascinated with questions of arbitrariness and ambiguity. Arbitrariness: Why make a thing one way and not another? Was it made on purpose? And ambiguity: What is it, exactly? Dealing and playing with these ideas I explored my own symbol-structures and invented new methods in my painting from experimental, conceptually focused, and systems-driven perspectives. Perhaps most importantly, I practiced destroying and re-building my own marks and the reasons behind them. I have gained only a reminder of the fundamental freedom each person inherits, artist or not. Freedom to play, communicate, challenge, explore, and to come to know oneself and the world.
Along with new ways of painting I have worked to approach challenges that were and are to me very scary, like painting pictures of people. Facing personally momentous challenges like this, when the possibility of failure and fear of the unknown loom – I am working to make adventure my home. Then I am forced to desperate improvisation, and in that clumsy, vulgar world, honesty sometimes gives way to something weird and decent.
A question I am often asked is, “How do you know when a piece is finished?” My answer is simple: I laugh.