When I was 9 years old, the house I lived in caught fire and burned down to the ground. When I told someone recently that my family lost everything in a fire, she said, “Oh, now I get it. THAT’S why you paint still lifes.” I lost every object I loved. Now I paint ordinary objects with love and reverence. Painting objects makes them permanent and unchanging. Painted objects will last longer than actual objects. Long after my own body is ash, my paintings will still exist.
As material fragments of everyday life, the objects in my work are signifiers for culture, class, identity, desire, gender, and the body. Since they are taken from the visual landscape of my everyday life, autobiographical narratives are suggested. There is a psychological tension between the real and the ideal. I long for the minimalist perfection of stripes, for example, but life gives me a crumpled-up shirt on the closet floor or a hastily wrapped package with visible tape.
The objects are vehicles for the underlying subject of my work: light. Unlike the terrifying, destructive light of fire, the light in my work is optimistic, full of possibility and inspiration. It is a tangible vehicle for enlightenment and transcendence. It is lux sanitatem: healing light.
The formal language I employ is a synthesis of traditional and contemporary aesthetics. Some paintings contain wry references to particular modern painters (a painting of striped shirts is nod to Bridget Riley and a creased shopping bag recalls Mark Rothko, for example). While from a distance or reproduced in images my paintings may seem illusionistic, the technique denies neither the physical texture of the paint nor the flat surface of the canvas. In this way my paintings integrate traditional illusionism and contemporary formalism: they are convincing representations of actual objects as well as abstract arrangements of light, shape, and color.
My paintings invite one to slow down, take time to look closely, to see, think, feel, and finally, to know. Isolated and placed in a conceptual space that is clean and orderly, the objects become the focus of concentrated looking, sustained contemplation, and, in turn, expanding awareness. My paintings are visual meditations intended to not only give aesthetic pleasure but to raise consciousness and affirm reality and truth. This is needed now more than ever.