Inspired by the stream-of-consciousness novels of Virginia Woolf, the philosophical writings of Alain de Botton, and Western European history, in my Tourist series I use the notion of travel and destination as metaphor for the turmoil of inner life in contemporary times. Opulent palaces, North American construction sites, highway traffic, and nature parks often merge and collide on the painted surface, operating in the space between representation and abstraction, interior and exterior, the real and the imagined.
Throughout my childhood and into my mid-twenties, I was a ballet dancer. That intense training of spatial awareness and interpretive questioning is still deeply stamped in my DNA. A painting to me is a kind of choreography––as painter/dancer I tease out meaning through working and reworking, coming up to speed as I gain understanding, and making the last strikes with absolute commitment.
“What I dream of is an art of balance, of purity and serenity, devoid of troubling or depressing subject-matter, an art which could be for every mental worker, for the businessman as well as the man of letters, for example, a soothing, calming influence on the mind, something like a good armchair which provides relaxation from physical fatigue.”
-Pierre Matisse, Notes d’Un Peintre, 1908
I too have yearned to make such pictures, for the world can be a troubling place, especially now considering the speed at which change, and along with it, instability, rushes at us. Enjoying a serene painting can help us cope. Even so, one can’t help but be of one’s time, and it feels imperative to also find forms in painting which express today’s dynamism.