There’s a brief moment of clarity when I enter the studio the day after working into the night. Before my mind’s eye adjusts and accepts things, which is really only a matter of seconds, I see the work fresh. I see what I achieved, or what slipped through my fingers into nothingness. It’s a fleeting glimpse of what I actually have, and almost always at odds with what I thought I had. When little shift occurs between my memory and what I confront anew, I know I’m close to something.
My work gathers complexity throughout the painting process. Politics, the natural environment, beauty, humor, popular culture, autobiographical and art historical references coalesce in unexpected ways. Meaning often remains elusive to me for a time, but gradually becomes clear. I don’t begin with a finished idea, or figure things out and fill them in, but rather build one element on top of another, moving from one association to the next, until I can’t add or subtract anything without undermining a sense of balance or unity to the often chaotic scenes I’m drawn to.
Living and working in New Mexico for nearly 30 years has greatly influenced my paintings, and my thinking in general. The expansive space, vivid light and western frame of reference informs the narrative content in my work, and the alien beauty of high desert skies serve as backdrops for many compositions. In contrast to the picturesque, however, are serious ecological concerns, with very real impact on the quality of life in this region of the country. I’m especially aware of the correlation between poverty and environmental exploitation, because they live so closely together here in the “Land of Enchantment.”