“I have stopped trying to say anything about anything—there is no statement or message other than the presence of the flowers and light. That is enough”.
- Morris Graves
Meditating on ordinary, simple elements of nature; land, light, and flowers, I can say that for me, as spoken before by other painters, “Painting is another form of praying”. Painting is my practice of being fully present, intentional and alive to life. Looking deeply at the rose, the peony, the foliage, seeing deeply into the land and the surrounding space and air within which we exist, I am touched and opened to a deeper reverence for all forms of life and our interwoven existence through time.
Every flower is perishable and each one of our lives is but a brief flowering. All that we are and all that we love are part of a great current, a moving stream of ever arising and vanishing possibilities. My paintings are reflections on the temporal arc of this natural and beautiful passage.
We offer flowers at all moments of extremity. We offer them as laurels for the living and testaments to the dying. Their beauty is not separate from the brightness of the space they invariably enlighten, their fragrance lingers in memory like an elegy. Manet painted the bouquets brought to him as he lay dying. Some of Kafka’s last words were instructions written on slips of paper that advised; “Please look and see that the peonies don’t touch the bottom of the vase. This is why they have to be kept in bowls.” And one of the last sentences he wrote: “How wonderful that is, isn’t it? The lilac dying. It drinks, goes on swilling”.
Using variations of oil sticks, paint and mediums, scratches, scumbles and splatters of slung paint, I am inspired by instinct and intuition as much as intellect. I celebrate accident, inviting drips and smudges to evoke both decay and effulgence. In this way, the painting arrives as a “thing in itself” composed of the gesture containing its own making. I utilize deliberation and chance, thin washes and passages of impasto to arrange relations of color, value, calligraphic stroke and line into a feeling or memory, a pictorial composition more akin to the distillation of poetry than the descriptive lines of prose. I paint the moment in time and its passing. Like the Japanese phrase “mono no aware” meaning beauty tinged with sadness, I paint the flower and the death in the flower. I paint not to describe the flower but to feel my place in the stream.
I offer these paintings in the midst of a world comprised of ever-increasing speed and volatility as possibilities of quiet reflection. I invite the viewer to slow down, to be present. This simple engagement can be a radical act.
To quote Brice Marden: The rectangle, the plane, the structure the picture, are but sounding boards for a spirit. I always see the painting as a contemplative object”.