Guns and Butter February 2018

My paintings explore vectors of energy — collective manifestations of power that are both horrible and beautiful — ranging from gun emplacements along California’s Pacific coast and Europe’s Atlantic Wall to Costco warehouses endemic to every American city. The questions raised by these sites —for example, what role does militarism play in capitalist politics? — is summed up by the exhibition title, “Guns and Butter.” 

Using the shopping experience of Costco and its warehouse stores as one of my central symbols, I explore self in society. Cavernous spaces, intricately gridded ceilings, masses of merchandise and shadowy figures create a world driven by the tension between fulfillment of needs and the desire for profit.

In stark contrast, the military values of patriotism, selflessness and sacrifice are symbolized by abandoned bunkers nestled into coastal landscapes. Built to maintain boundaries of territory during war, these ruins call into question contemporary ideals. Walls built for defense crumble. A fetish for hardware feeds the fantasy that we can resolve complex problems with concrete and steel. 

In response to these dark energies, I paint. Through my focus on the largeness of the canvas and with a limited neutral palette, each painting creates an intersection between observation and thought, seeing and knowing — a place of complexity and depth.

 

The Warehouse Project October, 2015

My oil paintings are a visual exploration of self in society—with the retail store and shopping experience of Costco as a central symbol.  Drawing inspiration from the Old Masters—such as Goya’s sublime Madhouse paintings and Piranesi’s etchings of imaginary prisons— the main element in my work is darkness and light. Cavernous spaces, intricately gridded ceilings, masses of merchandise and shadowy figures create a world of great beauty, complex feelings and intellectual critique. They express a tension between the fulfillment of human needs and the desire for profit: The underside of American culture. 

 

Cradle of Wet and Burning March, 2012

My oil paintings are an exploration of the Feminine — juicy and fiery; of the Kabbalah — cryptic and primal; and of paint — sensual and real.  My personal, spiritual and artistic search go hand in hand.

Within the Kabbalah two figures present themselves: Lilith and Shekhinah.  Lilith is a keeper of demons.  She dwells in the dark, at the bottom of the sea.  Shekhinah, by contrast, is a spark; an emanation; the Divine Presence Herself.  These strong female figures intertwine and interconnect; together they represent the Feminine in its significances to the Kabbalah.  As they intermingle, traits blur, revealing a realm beyond distinctions and a state of unbound awareness.

Exploring the world of the spirit requires a down-to-earth vehicle: paint.  Images create touchstones of meaning while the language of paint allows the soul to soar.  Paint opens a path of discovery and imagination.  In my fire paintings, burning brooms, carts and candles suggest the dual nature of fire — comfort and torture, hearth and apocalypse — as well as cultural rituals, past and present.  In my water paintings, coral communities reveal an untamed vibrancy.  Along the axis of Life and Death, creatures of the coral reef emerge from darkness, are born and die.  The womb, the birthplace and a site of danger, has a a pulse.  I want my paintings, too, to pulsate, expand and contract.  I want figures to rise and recede in that life-rhythm.

In my growth as a painter, I’ve experienced revelation.  It is to be hoped that the surprise of that power has found its way into my work.  The title Cradle of Wet and Burning allows Shekhinah and Lilith their coexistence.  From the image of a flame cradled between tow hands, fire and paint flow upward, wetly.  Layer upon layer they eddy, from paint back to the flame.  That current is always present, a tide.