Nature has its own voice, even in representation. What may once have been a solely aesthetic enterprise, namely to “re-present” nature, has become for me a reminder of its steady disappearance.
My work is both a celebration of nature as well as an invitation to consider its fragility. With patience and detailed observation, I record segments or moments of plant and sky from my own backyard and surrounding neighborhood in Oakland, California. I take my subjects from this urban environment with the express intention of documenting the tenuous existence of green spaces in our modern world. To say that my paintings are paintings of nature, however, is to recognize that the objects or spaces were first chosen, then isolated, and finally rendered. Where there was a streetlight, a building, or a telephone wire, I chose not to look, not to memorialize. In these omissions the paintings aspire to portraiture - isolating a common plant or vista in order that it might fully hold our attention as a marker of not merely beauty but of nostalgia and reverence.
My paintings are rendered on aluminum for two reasons. The metal surface mounted on an inset wooden frame allows the image to float between the wall and viewer. In this way the panels are an analogue to painting itself as a physical link between the actual world and the perceived world. The metal also has a reflective quality, imbuing the surface with a luminosity. To achieve the desired depth each painting has 20 to 30 layers of oil paint and tinted glazes. Objects and forms are painted at intervals within the layers, allowing them to occupy various spaces in foreground or background. In making my work I take inspiration from traditional Chinese landscape paintings and specifically from the reverence expressed in the use of perspective, detail and compressed range of color. Shrouded layers of cloud, mist, and sky create an indeterminate space in each of my paintings, all of which are open to imagination.