Monday, August 9, 2010

Artist of the Week #3

My artwork is about the earth, history, family, life, and death. Fundamental to the work is my process of making; I gather natural materials — wood ash, soils, and sands — and then dry, grind, and sift them to create my own non-manufactured pigments. My paintings thus contain and preserve actual earth.

My reductive compositions draw focus to my works’ materials as well as encourage introspection by providing respite within our intensely busy world. For me, the simplicity engenders order, calm, and reflection. Many works are monochromes; others contain abstract shapes that evoke elemental forms in nature as well as geometries that cultivation imposes on the landscape. Although they appear simple, beneath the works’ surfaces are hours of contemplative labor, of collecting and preparing pigments, and of turning the earth into art.

These pigments come from places integral to my personal history. The wood ash is from my family’s apple farm in Vermont where I grew up; when globalization caused our orchard to fail, my father cleared the land by burning down the trees. I excavate soils that sustain crops and pasture across Vermont and collect other soils and sands from the American Southwest, where I have been transformed during many rich months hiking in the backcountry. In our modern economy we are more detached than ever before from nature and the source of the things that we use and consume. My works bring the earth indoors and have a history that I know directly.