AESTHETIC STATEMENT

AESTHETIC STATEMENT

My artwork arises from my natural inclination and affinity toward all things in nature. Living in the northern forest and lake country of the upper Midwest, I find unlimited inspiration in the ever-changing woodland landscape. Whether making highly textured mixed media assemblages, representational oil paintings, abstract encaustic or cold wax paintings, or three dimensional forms; the mystery of the cosmos and the natural world always stand centerstage. The colors, textures, patterns, shapes, light and shadows of nature are the springboard for my creations. I often combine this interest in nature with the concept of renewal, rebirth and transformation that is ever present in nature and in the human journey.

Encaustic and cold wax abstract paintings are my primary style and medium of interest, although I also work representationally in traditional oils, construct mixed media assemblages and I also create sculptural 3-dimensional forms.

ENCAUSTIC PAINTING uses elements from the natural world such as wax from the tiny bee, resin from the mighty tree, pigments from earth’s minerals and the element of fire; these elements all come together to create an alchemical transformation, turning the colorless, solid, material of bees wax into a liquid that flows across a substrate in a swirling dance. Within this dance there is an undeniable sense of both control and surrender with the artist and the medium alternately taking the lead in the dance.

The surfaces of my encaustic paintings are often carved, etched, and/or embedded with other objects from nature: sand, glass, bark, twigs, stones, handmade papers, silk, wool and more. The subtle scent of molten bees wax fills the air, and the flame of the torch gently warms the studio. The experience is always a very sensory, visceral and intuitive one.

The translucent and luminous layers of wax create an effect that is rich and varied allowing colors laid down previously to shine through. The intriguing effects of layering mirror the many layers of life, both in the human journey and within the natural world. Layers tell the countless stories of life.

Cold wax painting, the cousin to encaustic painting, also combines wax and pigments. While encaustic painting uses molten wax, cold wax is not heated or melted, it is a paste-like, translucent medium that is mixed with oil pigments, which also yield luminous, semi-transparent, lustrous results.

My goal is to not focus on copying what I see in nature or the human journey literally, but rather to observe and "feel" the natural world, deduce its essence and then retell that essence in a representational or abstract way that I hope will move and inspire the viewer on an emotional, psychological and spiritual level, and will connect the viewer to a deeper understanding of the mystical in nature and in life.

In my MIXED MEDIA WORK, I collect shed tree bark, fallen broken branches and dead or withered plant materials, as well as moss, lichen, shells, stones and other natural forest elements that I have picked up off the forest floor while on my woodland strolls. Combined with traditional artist materials, I then breathe new life and meaning into these found woodland objects by creating richly textual artworks.  What was once discarded and decaying debris is now renewed and transformed; a process I see as akin to alchemy and the concept of rebirth and personal transformation. I believe that the death and decay of a thing is merely a vehicle for transformation, and it need not indicate finality, but rather signify a metaphysical and metaphorical leap forward into renewal. I see this amazing process playing out everywhere in the natural world and in the human journey.

The concept of rebirth, is a fundamental aspect of life and offers a profound perspective on the cyclical nature of existence. The notion that life is not a linear journey with a definitive end, but rather a continuous cycle of birth, death, and rebirth whether literally or metaphorically. All life in the Universe is ever changing, transforming and recreating itself. It it this idea that I am exploring in my work.