As a figurative painter, the body plays a role in my practice, however, I am most interested in the relationship between mind and landscape. Landscape is ‘a way of seeing’ determined by historical and cultural forces; not solely geographic, they are biographical and personal. Another way to put it would be that there are no landscapes, only contexts.
Today, with technology ever present, I believe that a painting can capture something that a photograph cannot – feelings created through mark making and touch. In our current climate, we are bombarded with so many images, and I often paint people undergoing or retreating from this bombardment. There is engagement with the contemporary world and simultaneously there is a rejection of it by my subjects and by association me. I tack back and forth between the concrete, mundane world and the imaginative, emotional world, seeking a connection between them.
In terms of influences, Mary Cassette and Edouard Manet are painters that I have loved my whole life. Mary Cassette was the first female artist that I was exposed to as a child, and hers were some of the first paintings that I could see myself in: portrayals of women and children, specifically girls. I come back to Manet because of a thesis put forward by TJ Clark in the 1980s, which relates to my experience making art today. Manet’s painting emerged from a desire to represent the uncertainty and class tensions of Paris’ new urbanism.
As an artist whose paintings seek to tackle social and political issues, while working on large scale, the Mexican muralists are an important antecedent. I admire these painters because of the way that they used their art to protest economic, social, and racial injustices.
In my life in New York City, many of my closest friendships have been with poets. I relate to the abstraction and non-narrative of poetry. One does not need to figure it out; the logic behind a poem is associative in a way that relates to painting. I find myself aligned with the New York School in this tradition. Painters that I think about today tend to be female painters a generation ahead of me and often associated with this tradition, for example Jane Frieilicher, Yvonne Jacquette and Rackstraw Downes.