I am inspired by wood grain, the turn of a branch, the texture of bark and how old wood decays. Growth rings that form the pattern of wood grain is a wonderful marker of growth and time. When I paint and stain the grain I am celebrating life in a direct way. When weathered wood reveals grain and appears soft and decayed, I am embracing age. When a peeling chair reveals layers of different colored paint, the history of that chair becomes a part of my work. All of this wood gives me.
This body of work centers on the study of painting on wood grain, as seen here in the 'Board Series', ‘X Series’ and ‘Tumbling Blocks’. These begin by painting a board with several layers of paint, which I sand and stain. Often I will spray droplets of water on the surface as paint dries, and wipe away the wet paint which leaves holes in the top layer of paint. The effect is to break the predictability of the paint and wood grain pattern while allowing spots of the under color of paint show through. When sanding I am looking for how much of the wood grain to reveal and for areas where color catches the grain. I stop when the grain is evident in a new way. The aniline dye goes on last in the areas that are sanded down to bare wood. I then cut the wood and join it in various angles. The overall bent form has developed from of a long series of similar pieces. I am working for an overall symmetry and variations within the symmetry. I want the piece to feel centered and strong, but not stiff. This series is most akin to painting.
Many of these pieces contain slight visual plays. For instance, in the “X” Series when viewed from the side, the far side of the X appears to be wider that the side closest to the viewer. This contradicts expectations, and although not obvious it is subtly disturbing. This is very similar to some of the visual effects used in a Japanese Tea House and Gardens where, for instance, a pattern of stepping stones will be mirrored on either side of a portal. It is designed to take the participant out of their mind, and into the present moment. I want to do the same thing. My work is deceptively simple. Pieces are done in series for comparison. Within the comparison are subtle differences. Sometimes I paint illusions of space that compliment the actual three dimensional form as seen in X - 66 and X – 68 and in the Tumbling Blocks. Sometimes I will “flatten” a 3 dimensional form with paint, as the center of X-70 tends to do when seen from the front. These visual plays are playful ways to contradict expectations.
My forms are contemporary, but my influences are historic and eclectic. I am inspired by wood - both new and used, natural or from a mill, and as a material to dance with nature.