“Painter’s Progress”, 1983. Oil, wax, enamel on canvas, wood, 68”x 195”
The Early Work
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, to inject or retrieve some kind of meaning from them. And I wondered: What if these were just some organization of form and images which did not actually mean anything specific, yet still encouraged “decoding” by implying rules and syntax? This idea brought to mind many other sorts of images and situations in which the human desire to understand gets nudged, teased, and provoked but never quite satisfied. Could a similar kind of nagging affect be duplicated and recreated intentionally? When I left the museum that day, I knew I had found an interesting and sustainable content about which to paint.
“The art of painting is the art of doing what you think you are doing…” Ayn Rand
After several years the painting moved on from the metacognitive exercises of these early constructivist abstractions and I began two series of small sculptures. The first group was an interpretation of the paintings I had been making at the time. The subsequent group were objects which attempt to project the vague feeling that you might know what it was, or had maybe seen it on the workbench out in your father’s garage. In any case, they are what they are and exist for the purpose of looking.
“The primary purpose of art is contemplation for its own sake, or to show what man is capable of…” Ayn Rand