I grew up in the West, so am inclined towards mighty spaces. Thomas Cole and Albert Bierstadt’s grand landscapes make perfect sense to me. Our family’s version of a cheap vacation was camping in gorgeous National Parks such as Yosemite and Lassen. Like Cole, the places we visited got us as close to god as we could possibly imagine being. At the same time, they represented what we had lost.
My recent work is focused on making sense of the world around me after calamities such as Hurricane Katrina and the BP oil spill. We are slowly making our world unlivable, and I want to bring to the surface the destructive action, waste, and contamination that is generally invisible to us. I need to imagine another way, to outfit myself with signs and banners that speak louder than I can, to envision how we might remake the world as it is slowly falling apart.
I have always been up for a good journey and that is what painting offers me. Like the game Chutes and Ladders, the basic thrust of which – flying down slides and plodding up pathways – I always loved as a kid, my work allows the eye to meander through spaces, across rivers, get lost in thickets, singed by forest fires, pass by warning signs and under control towers that speak, in smoke signals, to our great distress.