Grand Forks, ND
The continual undercurrent to my work is a curiosity in representing objects, spaces, or people that are important to me through paint. The material of paint allows an equalization of importance to these subjects, and through the use of brushwork, colour, and composition I can express my emotional connection to them. The attraction to these subjects has occurred naturally, and is par with the affection I have for oil paint.
I paint from life. My attitude towards application is that any method is ‘fair game’, but I tend to naturally stack or build paint through tonal variations rather than modelling. In maintaining open dialogue with application methods, I am able to engage in my process more confidently and clearly- allowing paint to be the subject as well as what I am observing. Sustaining this attitude and trust in the process allows a constant flow of discovery, challenge, and engagement with the material. Sometimes this process leads to waiting and the painting may sit for an extended period of time before I have a sense of where it is to go.
Seeing colours rest next to each other and create a conversation as well as relate to a subject delights me. To fully investigate colour I have committed a significant amount of time to the maturity of my palette and have developed a personal colour chart system. This system enables me to experiment with colour mixing, as well as keep record of how to remake complex combinations. This process has increased my passion for rich vibrant colour, and my enjoyment of paints physicality. For this reason I use brushes that are stiff and can be fully loaded, allowing thick application.
Historically I place my work in relation to the 18th century still life painters forward beginning with Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin, and his work based on his own everyday items. Contemporary influences include Alice Neel, Lucian Freud, and Vincent Van Gogh. On a material level these painters typically employ raw, direct mark making to explore their subject; but with their own language extend something beyond the surface of a painting- capturing an essence of their subject.
Theoretically I am interested in painters talking about their own process of painting, and appreciate when critics investigate finished work of the artist, as well as the artist’s process. A specific example would be Martin Gayford’s biography on sitting for a Lucian Freud Portrait ‘Man with a Blue Scarf’. Viewing work in person is crucial to my practice, I often go to cities seeking out specific bodies of work, and most recently I spent time in Amsterdam to research the work of Van Gogh.
Reading is an invaluable source of inspiration for me, I gravitate towards writers who use quotidian subjects, and similar to those I choose to paint. I like reading literature and poetry that holds a direct tone, yet remains penetrable and interesting. These are qualities I strive for in my own work. Writers I align these qualities with are Lydia Davis, Sylvia Plath, and Steve Toltz. I also enjoy hearing writers speak about their processes. This helps me to understand my own process more clearly, by associating universal terms of artistic practice based methods.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website