I first began experimenting to create a new dialogue with my photography by combining my pictures with unconventional materials such as canvases made of weathered wood, sheet metal scraps, plexiglass, etc., and playing with the ancient method of encaustic. The encaustic medium captured my interest with its sculpture-like qualities that come from building up layers of wax, embedding various media, and conversely subtracting and distorting the wax to create another type of texture. This medium suddenly broadened my ability, allowing me to express myself on multiple levels and imbue my work with layered narratives.
By merging the image with the encaustic, it allows me the “push and pull" of sculpting. Using it to bring focus to a space, or obscure a space, and to also literally scrape, carve, and mold the surface of the piece is a constantly dynamic process and brings the photograph back to a living, vibrant, organic state. Restraint becomes an important component in resolving the work; that neither the image nor the surface overpower the other. Through the repeated handling of the materials, the painting soon expresses the weathered feeling of the landscape and a hidden energy is revealed in my translation.
This belief in a universal energy has been an evolving interest of mine and my work has been influenced by it’s study and manifestation throughout different cultures, specifically Native American culture, mysticism, Shamanism, Kundalini Yoga, Oneness, and Eastern philosophy. Nature to me is an obvious place to start when dealing with these themes. It’s a reflection of us in many ways— burnt trees become like skeletons, the destruction of nature relates to our own destructive natures. There are also manmade structures and landscapes that reflect our nature in a different way; years of layered graffiti reveal an undocumented history of creativity. I travel extensively to remote locations to photographs subjects such as these that allow me to explore my concepts. To be completely absorbed by the elements around me - the colors, the smells, the silence, the peace, the wind brushing against my skin, the warmth of the sun... awakens all my senses.
When I come back to the studio I never really know what direction the photograph will take my painting. The picture speaks to my gut, my body responds instinctively, emotionally - with color, texture or the absence thereof. My goal is that this visceral approach allows me to communicate something personal that becomes universal.
Bachelor of Fine Arts, 1993