Artist's Statement

 

How do I compose a coherent, relevant statement about the body of work represented here, as it includes a lithograph created in my first printmaking class as an undergraduate in 1964, to works which were completed yesterday? Quite a challenge.


There does seem to be one common thread woven throughout my artmaking: I am often obsessive and I get lost in detail.  I do make a substantial effort to harness this propensity by starting with piles of roughs and studies, considering composition, value, perspective, etc., which I hope results in organized and purposeful busy-ness. There are countless examples of this manner of working in the history of art, from ancient decorative motifs to emerging contemporary artists whose use of line, texture, and form might be considered ‘obsessive.’ Since I believe
few artists work in a contextual vacuum, I feel that these artists, ancient and contemporary, lend some aesthetic legitimacy and critical validation to working in this manner. I am aware of the illegitimacy of working in intricate detail purely for the sake of detail.

I explore aquatint and etching for my artmaking not because of the inherent multiple images possible, but primarily because I find the process and the graphic qualities of the marks and values most effective for my expressive purposes. My career as an illustrator and cartoonist exerts an undeniable influence on my subject matter, as well as my technique.

I use imagery inspired by decayed infrastructure, antiquated amusement parks, pinball, and advertising references as a metaphor, again, for my expressive purposes. Woven throughout are often barriers and fences, frenzied and frantic motion, agitated and dizzying projectiles. I’m deeply concerned about the cultural, ecological, spiritual, and political dystopia we have created, and some of my works address these issues, often with ambiguous metaphors. Sometimes, though, I’m simply mesmerized by macrocosm/ microcosm, surfaces, patina, planes, and grids, and the work has no profound significance beyond that fascination.

My recent graphic works, in process, take on a life of their own and seem to evolve into contemplative exercises. I get lost in them, and am often surprised when I pin them to my studio wall and discover what they’ve become as a unified whole. When working this way, time seems suspended. The result, I hope, is a dynamic image that changes with the viewers’ distance, drawing them in to reveal surprises and subtly concealed content.

To paraphrase Paul Klee, I hope my works “take your mind for a walk.”