In over forty years of making paintings, I have been reducing image and subject toward the formation of a singular, elemental picture. I believe that a painting should provide a visually surprising experience, at once bold and contemplative. I use abstract figuration with almost cartoony edges that casually suggest land or monolithic shapes against sky. Employing no more than three clearly delineated areas of color, I eliminate psychic noise to build a vibrational optic intensity.
For years I searched for a paint material that wasn’t toxic and overly refined. This led me to commercial clay wall paint, a material not unlike fresco in its matte luminosity and earthy physicality. It has a humble, honest presence that I want my paintings to embody. I add tints to create saturated colors against a neutral tone to build chromatic vitality, and apply numerous smeared layers with brushes and rubber tools, often further activating the paint by scraping or wiping. The result is a velvety, condensed surface that can seem alternately like flesh, concrete, or tree bark.
While my work is steeped in the tradition of abstraction and modernist landscape painting, I also consider my East-Coast, working-class roots and my feminist/butch/queer sensibility to be a major factor in the development of my aesthetic. In my studio practice, this means tactile, matte surfaces, a blunt simplicity of form, and a straightforward use of materials. I deliberately use the word handsome to describe how I want a painting to look, as it implies a less gendered idea than the word beauty, which connotes fancy, classy, and exclusive qualities I reject. The word handsome has it’s roots in hand as in manual work and physical agency, implying a down-to-earth sense of something substantial, well-formed, and striking. It reflects my resolute transgressive attitude.