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Once I recognized that everything in the universe is in a constant state of change, and that subsequently the identity of everything is transitory, I decided to focus my work on the ideas of change and transformation.
In my early work these ideas are conveyed primarily through graphic forms representing incompleteness, movement, disintegration and destruction. The forms are intended to be seen in flux with their identities interpreted by the viewer. As such the pictures represent change, not only through the potential transformation of forms, but also by the multiplicity of interpretation which mirrors the concept of shifting identities through the transformation process. In addition, spiritual, religious and philosophical themes, such as heaven/hell, good/evil, birth/death, decay and disintegration, death and transcendence, are used to convey change and transformation.
As the work progressed, I introduced the human figure to provide the pictures with a primary form to represent change and transformation. To convey this, the figures are typically depicted being transformed in some way. This represents the transitory nature of life and elevates the psychological component of the pictures. The figures are usually bound with their identities obscured by graphic vehicles like decapitation, the head hidden in cloth, or being consumed by flames. This universalizes them, adds symbolic connotations, and being bound, alludes to the human condition that we are all physically part of the world/nature while at the same time psychologically separate from it. To offset a completely nihilistic statement, hope is commonly represented by forms like an infant (rebirth), or a blue portal (transcendence).
The kind of space, type of composition, use of light, and method of articulating forms all work together to create an other-worldly reality and to infuse the pictures with magical, theatrical and spiritual qualities. To do this, the space is usually contiguous and ungrounded. Many of the compositions are symmetrical and often center-focused. Some are edited down to only a few forms while others offer a full array. Typically there is one light within the picture which enhances the spiritual quality. Other times it is outside the picture, flowing in from a mysterious source. Generally the forms are not modeled from life. As such they are meant to be seen as stylistic depictions existing in an invented reality representing a metaphysical state intended to heighten the spiritual, psychological and philosophical content of the work.
Philosophic, Spiritual and Religious Content
In a general sense, my work focuses on the ideas of change and transformation. I decided on this focus once I recognized that everything in the universe inevitably and continuously changes and transforms. That is, when I realized that change is the force that renews life, impels identities to shift, and ultimately unifies all things. As such, I see life as a dynamic reality containing a vast array of processes, including the drama of the passage of life and the wonder of the creation of new life. When these processes are contemplated from a personal perspective they give rise to profound philosophic, spiritual, and religious questions like - Where do we come from? What happens to us when we die? What is the purpose and nature of life? Thinking about these questions makes one conscious of self, life, and mortality and produces the startling realization of one's tenuous existence. In the end these ideas present themselves to me in a myriad of rich and thought-provoking ways and lead me as an artist to comment on the mystery of life and the incomprehensible nature of our existence.
In thinking about the ideas of change and transformation, particularly from the perspective of understanding the nature of life and existence, I have realized that they are inextricably bound to philosophy, spirituality, and religion. And in giving representation to them I have found it essential to incorporate philosophic, spiritual, and religious themes in my work. In doing so however, I decided not to approach them as separate themes representing distinct studies, but as ideas that occur at the juncture of them becoming each other. That is, the point at which religion takes on a philosophical nature, when the spiritual becomes religious, or when philosophical ideas become spiritual. At these points I see them not as separate ideas but as integrated ones that more closely reflect the unified nature of life. And when these ideas are integrated, and given form within a pictorial world, they coalesce to produce a new mythology beyond the sum of their distinct parts. To achieve this I suggest the junctures of philosophic, spiritual and religious ideas by minimizing the use of specific religious symbolic imagery and allusions to religious iconography. I also do not depict scriptural scenes, comment on philosophic, spiritual or religious teachings, or want the work to be overly weighted with religious symbols. As such, I do not address the ideas in a narrative or illustrative way. Instead I present the viewer with images that have broader more universal and interpretable meanings. For example, The Niche (2001) and Requiem (2000) both contain a crucifixion form which can be read as an allusion to Christ's crucifixion while at the same time could represent the universal condition of human oppression and suffering. These interpretations are a reflection of my intention to create works that contain multiple layers of meaning that expand and enrich the reading of them.
Ultimately I intend the work to depict aspects of change and transformation using philosophic, spiritual, and religious themes to enhance their depth and meaning with the hope that they reveal aspects of the dynamic reality of our existence.