Body and Place in the West (April 2013)
I live and work on a mountain. My paintings come to me as complete works. Each is a visual flash of thoughts and feelings as I move through, look and feel the place in which I live. My materials include the landscape (earth). Landscape is multidimensional – the paintings are a document of that multidimensionality. All of the works are about the Western U.S. – borders disappear for me. Only the wide, unceasing expanse of land exists. That is my place – my body’s home.
In the 21st Century, American Western landscape painting must be rethought. In all fields there is innovation. For some reason in art making, if an image or work challenges the viewer’s notion; progresses beyond the expectation of the time and/or breaks new ground – it is often criticized – thus stifling new approaches. Perhaps it is our love of nostalgia and comfort that keeps many from moving forward in the visual sciences.
Painters (and in sculpture, film, dance, performance art, etc.) make work as a response to what has gone before – and to where we are going. I reflect upon the rich lineage of painting from which I have come and think about the world in which we live. The fiber of this work is place and lineages. As this is being written the sun is slowly moving to the day’s end. From the mountain on which my studio sits, the mountain that I view across the valley is illuminated and moving. In time the mountain becomes a black rectangle with a shocking white space above it. Our concept of time and space has changed dramatically. A landscape is not what it was in the 19th century for many reasons, our use and perception of time/space being among the most prominent.
Ultimately, each work is about vastness that can be unearthed in the mind and body and is fostered by the place found in Western landscape. Therefore each work requires generous space both physical and psychological to surround it. This is the way the work can be understood and felt.