In my most recent drawings I have revisited the timeless themes of life, death, and the human condition. This new interest in the expulsion and the fall of man has been paired with my prior leanings, which have long been rooted in fringe images of the body, medical illustration, ornamentation, dark comedy, and the uncanny. These inevitable aspects of existence bring to mind the most tragic, and most beautiful, images of the body. Where the soft skin of a newborn and my rough patches of psoriasis are the most proximate of neighbors. It is this transitional moment, full of both grace and pain, which I wish to prod and indulge.
|brown and blue works|
In the brown and blue works I began to explore visual complexity and ornamentation in conjunction with my prior interests; which have long been rooted in contemporary trends in figurative and portrait based works, as well as fringe images of the body, either in medical illustration or cartoons. I believe this push towards excess propels the figures in to another space, and permits the psychological possibilities or fantasies of the figures (or those embedded in the narrative) to operate outside of normal spatial conventions, and in short become uncanny. My goal was to make each new image more seductive and self-indulgent than the last, while still challenging notions of pain, violence, optimism, and beauty.
This is an ongoing series of three-quarter portraits that I began to develop many years ago. It was the initial series that introduced both cartooning and medical illustration into my studio practice in order to explore what I believe to be the varying degrees of comprehension associated with each image type. Through this process, these two sub-sets of body images began to represent the visual bookends of the individuals I was portraying in my work. Each image is based on a series of five questions I ask the models during the initial sitting (ranging from favorite color to predicted cause of death). It is a series I hope to continue with each new person who sits for one of my works.
Adopting this mode of representation is both a nod back to my adolescence reading 3D comics (Twisted Tales and Alien Wolds being my favorite) as well as an attempt to engage the contemporary preoccupation with spectacle. The anaglyphic application employed in these images also seemed especially fitting as my work moved more and more from the realm of the plastic and psychological to that of the uncanny and decorative. I have 3d versions of several of my recent drawings under construction and “hope” (they are ridiculously time consuming to build) to continue building these variants of my work in the future.
In this series of works I was interested in exploring the role of memory - and the interpretation of individual experience - and its subsequent influence on how a moment is defined. In short, my hope was to create images that compel the viewer to slip back in thought to a moment of quiet and unrest. I believe that it required the work to be elusive yet exacting in consequence – therefore, capable of suggesting a visual paradox of harmony and disarray, of calm and chaotic, of beauty and sadness. It was in this series that my staining process was developed (initially, to suggest old sepia photographs). It is a process that continues to be felt in even my most recent works.
I have always enjoyed making small works. Moving from my larger works into smaller ones brings with it a shift in attitude and process. Large searching marks are replaced by precision and tightness, the complex scope is replaced by a minimized sense of space, and the multi-layered motives that govern my larger works are replaced by a singular desire. In the end, I find this shift beneficial to both bodies of work, the large to the small, and the small to the large. Initially, I used my smaller works to inform my larger drawings. Now, the exchange goes both ways and the smaller drawings have taken on their own unique slant and place within my practice.
Developing quick sketches of the figure, drawing self-portraits, or the portraits of others, is an important part of my studio practice. It is one of those areas I wish I were able to devote more time to, as it is often a more direct and satisfying way of working - especially in juxtaposition to the increasing demands of my more recent drawings. The following is a sampling of the work produced in short sessions.
For the longest time my doodles and sketchbook existed in an entirely separate realm from my major works (outside of the occasional sketch exploring compositions). However, more and more, the material meanderings and odd constructions that define my sketchbook have slowly filtered their way in to my drawings. Sadly – on some level – my increased reliance on pen tablets and digital mock-ups have eroded my sketchbook, and doodles have been largely relegated to the margins of office paperwork.