Longfellow School studio Great Cranberry Island, Maine.
Define place – explore the nature of space and time, seek out the source of light, color, react to change and the experience. For me, the process of painting is a form of expression that has the potential to generate a formidable intellectual, physical and emotional response to experience. Nature conjures extraordinary power – extreme energies…what we see…do not see…what we experience…nostalgia, its wonder, curiosities, inner structure, matrix, magic and mystery. All art no matter how literal or of the moment pop, seems to be abstract, relative to the context and the artist’s intention. Abstraction in art (life) can be ambiguous, random, and confusing, often perceived as a scam on the true “beauty” of nature. Non-representation, I feel, offers a synchronistic, internal and external links open to exploration without any preconceived image, idea or reaction.
My studio practice continues to evolve with the exploration of visual and conceptual abstraction and the expressive use of mixed media. Often aligned with new paintings, images of previous and recently created works are repurposed, becoming explorations of new tools and resources, resulting in a hybrid of elements, digital imagery painted into, upcycled latex enamel, acrylic, layered in compound color, texture and image integration on canvas – all while considering new applications for the work, whethter 2-D or 3-D…
After reviewing the motivations common to most of my painting efforts to date continues to be intent on an orchestration of elements seeking a synaesthetic outcome. Painting throughout history has provided me a lineage with a broad cultural matrix, while the process offers a reconnective power – like a haiku, a Baziotes painting, or a Bellini landscape; recurring inspiration from Tantric art, Taoism, Chinese landscape painting, and greats the likes of modernists Wassily Kandinsky (Russian, 1886-1944); George Morrison (Grand Portage Band of Great Lakes Chippewa, 1924-2000); Alan Houser (Chiricahua Apache, 1914-1994); and contemporary artists James Lavadour (Confederated Tribes of Umatilla) and Kay Walkingstick (Cherokee Nation). My wife Sharon and I have been fortunate to be able to spend extensive time in Santa Fe, New Mexico over the past few years. Time in Santa Fe has been transformative with inspiration from Paleo and Indigenous Pueblo and Hispanic cultures; early modernists Raymond Jonson, Emil Bisttram, Agnes Pelton and the Southwest Transcendentalists, these and more serve as major influences for me; as are contemporary artists Nancy Holt and Robert Smithson. Travels in Central and South America, life changing trips to Cusco, Peru - Machu Picchu and San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico, intangibles of time and space play out inspiring my work, where layered history and cultural memory surface, not unlike that of the rich Southwest and Santa Fe environs. As influential remains the grand arcing horizons of Anishinabe Gitchigaming, Lake Superior, in all it's dramatic moods and mystery; Lake Superior is transformative, precious, sacred and vulnerable; plus big shoulder Smoky Mountains as Cherokee home and refuge; and Black Mountain College (1933-57), North Carolina, early creative innovation via co-faculty/students collaboration; Joseph & Ani Albers, Charles Olson, John Cage, Merce Cunningham, Robert Rauschenberg, Ruth Asawa and so many more modern and contemporary artists. The preeminent power of place. - MD 19