Assumptions about maleness and masculinity, the violence of war (and competitions of all stripe), the empty shimmer of shopping malls and the gleam on a diner tabletop—these are all important themes in my work. Still, I feel compelled to ask: what lurks beneath a theme? You might think that the people I look to for inspiration are artists (like myself) who are committed to the act of representational painting (Richard Estes, Edward Hopper). Not so. Artists like the late Mark Lombardi, who traced connections between global power brokers and our common assumptions about “legal” behavior, and Canadian artist Brian Jungen, who tears apart and recasts Nike Air Jordans as Northwest coast First Nations masks, are far closer to my emotional core. If I spend a lot of time looking at the surfaces of things (and I do) it’s because I’m thinking about how we see.
There’s something comforting to the world of appearances, something at once kitschy and flashy and mesmerizingly beautiful. But there are also what I can only call “unseen forces” at work beneath our daily comforts, webs of connection that I just can’t convey as well as I can the gleam on chrome or porcelain plumbing, or the grunge of a dumpster marooned in a shopping mall parking lot.
As a painter, I can show you what I see, as faithfully and as questioningly, as I know how.
I leave it to you, as viewer, to make your own decisions about what it is you think you truly know.