I paint the urban pedestrian from the aerial point of view.
As a discipline, painting manifests the aura of tradition, and presents a space for its renewal. I see paintings as a part of reality, as real things in themselves, and as having a demonstrable connection with other real things. My paintings can be analyzed in purely formal terms, as abstractions about color, line, form, and space. But I add a representational subject, the urban pedestrian, to make a more complex and engaging painting, to connect the reality of the painting directly with the reality of the world.
I use photographs as a way to reconstruct images from the real world and transfer them to the real painting. For me, photography functions as a catalyst, like a catalyst in a chemical reaction: photographs are instrumental in the process of painting, but they do not appear in the completed painting.
I refer to Impressionist cityscapes, Bauhaus photography, New York School abstraction, and Minimalism as some important influences
For me, the urban pedestrian symbolizes a complex social milieu; the urban crowd, which I present as literally isolated on the canvas. I paint each figure as a detailed individual portrait, familiar yet anonymous. I construct the crowd from thousands of photographs, carefully selected and arranged, randomly to suggest patterns, and in patterns that suggest randomness.
Imagery from the aerial point of view is instantly recognizable even though we rarely directly experience it. In contrast with traditional perspective, with its closer-is-bigger implied hierarchy, from above each figure is equal in scale and in space, as in a democratic vision, but with the added ambiguity between the arrogance of “looking down” versus “looking at.” The aerial view makes it possible to imply the entire infrastructure of the city: cars, buildings, streets, etc., without actually depicting any of those things.
The aerial view compresses space. The spatial flattening of the images intensifies the surface of the painting, and enhances the colors in a unique way. The compressed space is a map, a kind of living map, which shows a way of seeing, and a way of being in the world.
I grew up on a dairy farm in northern Wisconsin helping my family feed about 50 cows. I started my undergraduate degree at UW - Madison, WI, and finished at SUNY-Potsdam, in upstate New York, with a BFA in Fine Arts. I lived in New York City and its environs for about 20 years, and now live on the South Side of Milwaukee.
1967 – 1970 University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI
1979 – 1980 SUNY-Potsdam, NY BFA-Fine Arts 1980
1995 – 1996 Long Island University, NY MLS 1996
Awards and Grants:
2009 Poster contest winner for Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, Madison, WI.
2010 Real People 2010 Juried show in Woodstock IL. 2nd prize
2010 Mary L Nohl Suitcase Export Fund grant, $300.
2010 Selected for inclusion in the Wisconsin Arts Board % for Art program, with paintings placed at UW-Stevens Point, and UW-Platteville.
2010 Winter Juried Exhibition – Anderson Arts Center, Kenosha – 2nd prize