I paint from my experience of the world. That is to say, I paint from the random multi-vehicle collisions of experience, memory, association, and imagination which are our lives. Painting doesn’t do much to clarify anything, but it lets me have fun with the wreckage.
I am a connoisseur of disorientation, those moments when we don’t know exactly what we’re looking at – an object inexplicably dissolves into another, positive and negative appear to flip, when we’re dimly aware of a grammar but can’t follow it. In those moments, when we have to invoke our brains to impose ‘sense’ on our eyes, we see the world as it really is – even if only for a fleeting second.
I have always been fascinated by iconic images: Masonic symbols, the attributes of saints, Tarot and Loteria cards, illustrations from children’s encyclopedias, rebuses, pictographs, pictorial elements that ‘read’ at a glance, punch above their weight – yet remain ambiguous. What does a pictograph of a knife ‘mean’? It might mean one thing to a wood carver, something else to a cook or a butcher, something else entirely to a metalworker or an outdoorsman. What’s a ladder? What’s with the dog? Elemental images like this insist that they ‘mean’ something , and they do – but not the same thing to all of us.
That’s the point. For me a picture is successful when it becomes stranger than the sum of its parts, at precisely that moment when it becomes a mystery to me. That’s what I work for – I work to make pictures that are compelling but unresolvable.
“You see, I look at my paintings, speculate about them. They baffle me, too. That’s all I’m painting for.” – Philip Guston