“She was the single artificer of the world
In which she sang. And when she sang, the sea,
Whatever self it had, became the self
That was her song, for she was the maker. Then we,
As we beheld her striding there alone,
Knew that there never was a world for her
Except the one she sang and singing, made.”
- Wallace Stevens, “The Idea of Order at Key West”
I like to work with simple, traditional materials on simple, traditional surfaces because they give me complete control for a minimum investment in technology/energy sources. The substances are mineral, vegetable, occasionally animal, in any case sourced directly in the natural world. I’m interested in how these substances can come to life thanks to the intervention of my hand, eye, and brain, in response to some stimulus in the outside world – a photograph, a shadow, a fruit on a table, a feeling of being in the ocean. I work on the painting until it has a life of its own, a kind of personality, until it elicits a response from me I’m comfortable with and want to look at. The paintings I really want to see don’t exist, so I have to paint them for myself.
I have been working on our relationship to nature for years – how do we see our role, identity, purpose, in this vast cosmos that gave us birth. To feel the human body is the subject par excellence in exploring this connection. It is the container of the contained. We are nothing without it. Yet we feel separate from it, as if we are inhabiting it, as we inhabit the world, the planet, the earth, a house. As we move around in the world, using our body, our awareness also moves around in the body. Our emotions are felt in the body, our hearts beat more strongly when we are moved. We enjoy using our bodies, feeling our muscles stretch and contract. Our bodies take us where we want to go and show us everything we need to see, hear, touch, taste, smell. In painting women’s bodies in water I want to explore how we can both see and feel the body in relation to the environment. The freedom of movement in water, the upholding, surrounding, is particularly conducive to painting poses that express not rest, as in traditional nudes sitting or lying or standing, due to the limitations of painting from life, but rather freedom and many emotions -- excitement, passion, curiosity, ecstasy, fear, anger, or peace, thanks to the aid of photography and in particular underwater video. A whole new field for expression is opened up, using darkness and light in wholly new ways, shadows created by moving water and sunlight fading in the depths.