My work explores our finite resources - including the resources of time, attention, and silence. It examines the relationship between human senses and that of our natural physical environment. Rather than attempt to paint silence itself, my work particularizes physical sensations that intensify when external noise, chatter, and endless stimuli fall away. The paintings evoke multi-sensory experience and memory, sensations heightened in solitude. The goal of my work is to create a space that is quiet but also rich with emotion and memory. Over the past several years I have been re-forging my connection with nature through spending time alone in wild places and reflecting back on those experiences through painting. Its inspiration comes from time I have spent in natural, remote spaces including the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, Lake Superior, Big Blue, Wind River Range, Chaco Canyon, and Botswana.
I am always looking up. So, although my paintings are not specific representations of place, they reference sky and weather. I grew up in Minnesota and have kept this place as my home base for more than 30 years, so I am intensely aware of environmental changes that are beginning to affect ecosystems in this region. My latest paintings in this exhibition are inspired by the current volatile weather. Weather is the ultimate in small talk, but what once was an effortless topic can now be a point of polarization and anxiety because of climate change. We chat about the weather as a safe subject, perhaps, but also because weather is important to us physically and psychologically.
I have found that the physicality, technical challenge, and time required to create this work is important -- in a way it feels like developing a relationship. I build up dozens of layers of color on wet canvas or linen using brushes and small amounts of acrylic paint with other acrylic media. I work the surface until the paint and canvas are both completely dry, which takes 20-30 minutes per layer for the smallest pieces. The resulting richness, subtlety, and depth of color pushes the limitations of acrylic media.