I am interested in our connection to and desire to connect to the natural world, with questions that arise about the nature of reality and the natural world, our place in it and perception of it - a connection that, as suggested by E.O. Wilson is his theory of biophilia, is innate to humans. In my paintings I explore the perceived boundary or skin between the human and the natural world.
Can the boundary or skin between the human and natural world be dissolved or made transparent by the energy of desire, by Eros, by love, by ecstasy and a desire to connect: to be at once subsumed and to possess what we see, feel, touch, taste and hear?
Perhaps these perennial questions have been made particularly relevant by our occupation of a space that is increasingly mediated by technology and by experiences that are more virtual than corporeal. Perhaps, as a consequence, there is a renewed desire to lose oneself in the landscape. Even though we are a part of nature, we are all the while aware of our separation from it, our place in and out of it, and as Erick Fromm suggests, this haunts us with an existential longing.
Paint is used to explore these questions and ideas because it is at once is material, molecular, and is a conveyer and a repository of ideas. The idea is embedded in the paint and the canvas is an analogous "skin”. In all works colour is paramount.
In some of the series of paintings, the canvas is first covered in lip prints/kiss marks; used for their mutable symbolic significance and also for their remarkable morphological similarity to other natural forms, suggesting by implication, in addition to love and sensuality, our essential corporality and connection with the rest of the natural world.
The kiss marks are also intended to activate the space in a way that suggests a simultaneous reality by shifting the view between the macro and the micro. In this way, and in general, I am increasingly drawn to places between abstraction and representation, a state of suspended reality where to story and the picture are in flux - and point of view and authorship is open to determination in the shifting imagery.
The kiss and the mouth are, of course, connected. In some images a woman is consuming or being consumed by a flower, as a reflection of our desire to be part of and lose ourselves in nature. In some paintings a suggestion of a cave is evolving: the mouth that actively sought a sensual and carnal connection with the natural world has been turned inside out, and is now breathing out a new world, a new place.
The large abstract paintings in "Love on the Rocks” were painted at the artist residency in Pouch Cove Newfoundland during the summer of 2007 and are a distillation of transformative experience. They began as simple pencil line sketches, some done while sitting on the cliffs recording the pattern of the waves on the sea over a period of time and some from compositions gathered while walking the East Coast Trail.