Having grown up in coastal New England, I have always held the beauty of the landscape in high regard. However, it is only in the last few years that I have turned to this genre of painting as my primary source of self-expression. I have found in landscape painting that not only can I chronicle a sort of personal history, but I can also explore the abstract visual principles that attracted me when I was younger.
I began my landscape work with the concept of deconstruction. I break down the subject into a field of blocks. Then, treating each block as an individual painting of its own, I reconstruct the landscape into a sort of painted 'quilt'. I have found that acrylics enable me to build texture quickly as well as give me the ability to mask-off recently worked areas without having to allow for the longer drying time of oil paints. I believe this style reflects my interest in the work of Paul Cezanne and the Cubist movement that eventually spawned from his visual philosophy. While this form of painting remains an ongoing experiment, my current series of paintings has a more traditional feel.
I moved west to New Mexico in the spring of 2005 and was immediately struck by the landscape. This was not the desert that I'd grown accustomed to watching in roadrunner cartoons as a child. Rural New Mexico has a pastoral, idyllic quality that, while reminiscent of the countryside I have encountered in the Southeast, is completely unique unto itself. The feeling of isolation can be both haunting and beautiful in the same breath. In this series I've found that oil paint is better suited to the expression of flowing skies, mesas and plains. Nowhere else have I found the same humbling vastness of space coupled with tiny reminders of human existence. While I am still in the early stages of this series, I believe I've already found a distinctive visual style that, unintentionally, evokes some of the same spirit found in the work of Thomas Hart Benton. A crumbling barn at the foot of a mesa, a fence in the middle of thousands of acres of open plain, a dirt road rambling through seemingly abandoned hills: these are the images I now find myself trying to express.