As a nascent painter in the early 1980’s I was on one of those museum strolls we all make and one day was studying a wall of Egyptian hieroglyphs. Enchanted by the arrangement of symbols and form, I found myself wanting to participate and to inject or retrieve some kind of meaning from them.
The small sculptures had begun to feel repetitive after about a hundred works or so, and seemed to have run their course. By the mid-late 90’s the paintings took on a more naturalistic imagery whose subjects mingled animals in landscapes (below left: Swirl, 2000, o/c 72”x84”; below right: A Magpie, 2004 o/c, 12”x 16”). These new paintings seemed to encourage a storyline, but were really nothing more than what you invested them with. By 2005 the animal references were abandoned, and I began the large dramatic landscapes I call the Natural Phenomena paintings.
As subjects evolve, the instinct to assign “meaning” to an unfamiliar visual situation remains the content of my work. The successful paintings elicit a cognitive search to interpret or understand an image even while, intentionally, it cannot be definitively understood. I have come to refer to this situation as a “Zombie Symbolism”, in which combinations of form and image appear to contain some kind of message or meaning but are actually dead and empty of both.