I work primarily in oil, but also sketch, and create prints in aquatint and sugar lift. As a painter, I don't approach the canvas with a preconceived idea. If I do, the painting inevitably goes wrong. My painting is intuitive and instinctive. I seem to need ambiguity and contrast. I want a painting to be representative enough that a viewer can see, for example, a figure in a dress, or a boat on the water, but at the same time I'm not interested in trying to recreating a scene. There has to be much more at stake for a painting to compel me. I'm a person who needs space and I prefer the sea to the forest. For years, I travelled each summer to a small cottage on the coast of Newfoundland.
I don’t know why, although I'm afraid of the water, my works so often deal with it. I have come to understand that my approach emphasizes the ephemeral moment when we encounter the world. It also communicates the decisive moment of the painting process, the transience of decision-making, when material, emotion, and idea might coexist. The formal aspect that allows these two moments, both of which are essential, to find their place and their balance in my compositions, is the quality of light.
The works are not intended as historical depictions, rather they delve into history as a perspective to create mise-en-scene intended for the contemporary viewer in which a sense of time spent waiting or watching is unambiguous, but few details are given to attach particular cause to what is being watched, or waited upon. The titles are chosen from lines of poetry or prose from the past but not to create a literal relationship, instead the intention is to again subvert the context of depiction. It is a perspective and aesthetic that we as viewers associate with the past, which itself is also unattainable, and it is by choosing how to locate ourselves in this schema of the familiar and the unfamiliar that the viewer can be propelled back into the present, to empathize or not. Read more