I. Shadow catcher
A digital camera bolted to a portable, translucent screen intercepts and gathers patterns of shadow and light, slows the flow of imagery, unravels photography's false perfections, filters out high-frequency information, but retains the color of air and space.
II. Harvesting sensation
I use digital images as oblique source material, analogous to musical "sampling," yielding endlessly surprising structural configurations and chords of color. The positivist immersion in nature thus acts as the supplement to imagination. Visiting Jackson Pollock's studio, Hans Hofmann warned that working without nature, the artist was doomed to "repeat yourself." My source materials may be electron photomicrographs of the visual cortex, dancers in rehearsal, or trees at last light.
III. Pellucid materials
Ever since I saw polyester sailcloth transilluminated in performance, I have sought to leave behind heaviness and opacity. My backdrop for "New Bach" (Peter Sparling's modern dance, choreographed to a live performance of Bach's solo cello suites) drove the shift to mylar and aluminum supports, stainless steel blades to apply paint, and micro-thin films of oil paint.
IV. Alkyd resin on aluminum
Alkyd resin is an updated, modern equivalent for linseed oil, and makes possible a new chromatic vocabulary, for example, an orange that is actually pale, instead of the pink that comes from mixing orange with white pigment. Color can be floated on color, or veiled with gray, and no light is lost as it sinks into the coarse weave of linen canvas — all light reflects back from the white priming of the aluminum support as luminous color. These new materials — resin, aluminum panel, aluminum bracing — are light but ultra-strong, and environmentally "green" in their imperturbability.
I often paint patch-to-patch to achieve a suspended resolution of the gestural/Expressionist and the geometric as I integrate local and overall relationally (a paradigm: Cézanne's deep structure, Le jardin des Lauves, Phillips Collection). The tension and extended richness of patch-to-patch construction often derives from the adumbrated mosaic of the grid.
VI. The grid
Dividing the subject into a grid requires an activated, engaged viewing, as the grid generates endless relationships via contrast and juxtaposition. The grid makes literal the scanning process of human vision, and in its geometry superimposes and recalls the order of pixel-based machine vision and digital imaging. It is usefully generative of the series, and of seriality.
VII. Drawing with the camera
I use high-resolution digital cameras as devices for drawing slowly with colored light, and thereby trade away the registration of surface texture in the photograph in exchange for capturing the average unit color of objects and space. Cézanne was correct in seeing that every square meter of the world is unique in hue and luminance. In refusing to allow the camera to perform its usual function, I press the photograph towards the painterly in advance of it being painted.
VIII. Divine strangeness
I seek to recover something of the divine strangeness of the world by responding to phenomenological extremes (early or late light, storm or seasonal conditions), and by exploiting technical flexibility (extremes of camera aperture, exposure, focal length, position, movement, medium).
I sometimes make a glossy photographic surface register more than the visual imprint of light. I make indexicality performative as I draw into images of oak leaves with actual oak branches dipped in hot water, drag images of marsh grasses through those grasses covered with dew, or let branches bobbing in a stream "draw" and inscribe the surface of the work — all processes which strangely let things be themselves (John Cage).
I recognize the impossibility of pure opticality, and often wonder how to register embodiment in the material world. What are the forms of density, embeddedness, viscosity, and pressure that manifest some sense of interiority, of corporeal being?
XI. Powdered media
I often draw in pulverized graphite and charcoal in order to register evanescent patterns — fluttering leaves, swaying branches, wind on water. Graphite has a very short, but rich, value scale, like a platinum print, while powdered charcoal has a coarser texture, and a longer, deeper scale. Both have a unique physics of dispersion that defy reliable control.