ARTIST’S STATEMENT: The Fragile Earth
The Fragile Earth series came about as a combination of my concerns about climate change and much experimentation with mark-making, using unexpected color combinations, and the need to combine those expressively. I have done a number of landscape paintings in the past, in the plein air style, but felt that my work needed to better convey my personal, contemporary notions about nature.
The prevailing zeitgest about our relationship with the earth ranges from urgent concerns to complete rejection of any climate change notions, emergencies of weather, to a sadness that permeates every encounter with nature. My own feelings extend to a sensation of a long view, an awareness of time and space, and our place in this unique moment in civilization. And, of course, there is the wonder inherent in the mystery of nature, the vastness of spaces, and the poignancy of a glowing sun.
Capturing the uncertainty many of us feel, and concurrently, time stretching across eons, requires a new method of applying colors, of touching the canvas.
A number of things came together to get to this point in the physical “look” of my work. One of the most significant changes is my desire to “get God into the work”. In other words I am using controlled accidents to allow the element of chance to play a part in the process. This is similar to the notion of “automatic writing”, the fortunate accident, which was important to the Surrealist writers, and later to the Abstract Expressionists painters. I want to make the clouds, water, trees, grasses, have the same touch of the divine that they do in life. And one way to do that is to cede a bit of control to Providence, to chance.
The work has a looseness to it that is nearly impossible to get if there is too much “hand” in the work, and yet…one has to guide the painting fairly logically to get this casualness, and if we are leaving much of the painting to the spirits, one’s planning brain needs to be even more involved to obtain a sense of space, and especially of light.