Where are you from originally and where do you live now?
Originally, I’m from Charlottesville, VA. I had a nomadic upbringing living in several states from coast to coast with Midwestern roots. Since, July, I’ve been living and working in Chicago.
Mert, Strut, 2013.
These mixed-media pieces from the series "Strut" are a definite change from the large-scale, expressive paintings in "Limelight", 2012. What's going on in this series?
The Wheel, Limelight, 2012.
Yes, they are different. I am diversifying my studio language. The smaller works are made along side larger paintings. I tend to work on several sized canvases simultaneously. They inform each other and sometimes are even made from one another. These paintings from the series “Strut” are about intention without a predictable outcome and trusting that indulgence (or internal feeling) is worthy of acting on because it brings new insight. It’s difficult to express, because words can be limiting and inadequate when speaking a different language, which is why I paint. The closest I can come is that I seek to create and paint in a clear space, as in a “runner’s high” or the balance of yin and yang where mark, material and ideation live and breathe in the present tense. I think it has something to do with tension being the facilitator. The unpredictability of spills, stains, smears, and cuts, which appear untamed, speak to this and become a rich language for visual signifiers.
Installation of Limelight, P.S. One, Iowa City IA, 2012.
In your profile in New American Paintings you mention cultural icons as a big inspiration in your work. What were your inspirations for this series?
It’s true that I am captivated by visual interrogatories that are culturally bound. These icons, especially when personalized, transcribe the interpretation of the world by individuals and societies. I am intrigued by the use, meaning, and expression of cultural icons. These explorations sustain and challenge society resulting in a dynamic interplay between individuals, groups, local materials, cultural meaning, shifting values, and progress and decay. Recently, I’ve been obsessing over personalized jewelry, nameplates, grids, chakras, bleach, brass knuckles, lion’s breath, tiger balm, rocks, urban pace, and individualized strides.
There are a lot of gestural marks and repetition in these pieces. Are these ways of "making your mark"?
Urban Nomad, detail, 2013.
That is an interesting double entendre. I would say that it is about me personalizing abstraction. And on the other hand, it is about challenging the multifaceted and historic language of gestural abstraction and “the mark”. By this I mean my studio has become a place where I strive to establish a rich space where possibility and innovation can survive. I am constantly experimenting with new ways of manipulating and juxtaposing material, mark and idea. All too often, I find the most absurd ideas worthy of embrace where the outcome is unknown (and the potential for a new mark exists!).
Tell us about the different materials used.
Recently, I’ve been using large amounts of really watery oil and acrylic paint, spray paint, bleach, fake chains, metallic leather, beads, and left overs from old paintings or materials in my studio etc. The work is becoming more about translating the world of experience, which is necessitating a more diversified mark. My methods of applying paint are expanding through pours, drips, paint rollers, spatulas, tie-dying, and a bleaching technique I used on my jeans in high school.
What excites you most about making art today?
The unknown. That is the temptress that seduces me, creating new situations in my studio that leads me to broader and keener awarenesses.