My central practice is painting, which involves working with both chance and decision-based, non-objective mark making. While these two strategies happen simultaneously, I think of them as polar opposites. The first is an unknown to be explored and the second is an utterance from a singularity. My favorite thing is to make marks (whatever kind), spend time with them, and respond to them. This includes doing nothing and living with them as they grow old and get scuffed. It is about waiting and paying attention.
One of my strategies for developing situations of chance involves working with materials that are new to me, often salvaged or gathered and therefore not completely known. One consistent path of investigation was triggered by the discovery that gesso, plaster, drywall, chalk, and limestone are materially related to each other. This realization led to me making the painting Lathe and Plaster (2014) in which I made plaster out of hydraulic lime and water. I used found strips of wood and nailed them to one side of a stretcher bar from a failed painting. I added straw, sand and rocks to part of the mix for the first layer and let it dry. I then repeated this process several times with plaster mixtures that had less and less added material, finishing with a layer of a pure lime and water mixture. The final layer dried and cracked in a consistent pattern. It held and still holds but was and is extremely fragile. I have only repeated this process once but it has led to painting with marble dust and rocks found near the Oceanside cliffs that I believe are chalk or gypsum. This kind of curiosity has also led to deriving pigments from natural substances like pine cones, cochineal and oxalis as well as playing with binders like gum Arabic and wheat-paste. I often work on small, salvaged wood panels. I then build frames for the panels, also from salvaged wood. These become a part of the piece. Materiality is always at the center of this process.
Painting has its own time, rooted in the material world. For me this is slow. On the other hand, the videos I make can only exist in linear time. They are often erratic and harried. They demand a different kind of attention, what Walter Benjamin refers to as "reception in the state of distraction." (Illuminations, p. 240)
I think of work in terms of tending to the practice, like pruning a tree. It isn’t about trying to innovate. It’s not composition. It’s not my backstory. I’m not actually trying to do anything. I’m just tending to the practice so it doesn’t die.
A secondary practice is keeping trees and other plants in pots. The practice of watching over time, keeping track, making slight adjustments (with the main purpose of maintaining the health of the plant) informs everything that I do. I started using pumice as my favorite substrate for most plant roots. I wash the pumice before I use it for plants, to get rid of the sediment. I’ve been putting the resulting powder in gesso.
This website is a work in progress. I love collecting and building systems of organization so have been exploring coding, php functions and variables as tools for organizing and sharing images and information. I am constantly building and rebuilding the site, which I consider part of my practice. There are several kinds of menus and lists which I hope the visitor will explore.
I use this spreadsheet to organize and power the painting section on this website.