My Ostraka: History II: xv

In the ways of word making that are at our disposal as thinkers and makers, I give myself free rein to move between the world of imaginative and abstract form-making and the world of appropriation from historical models:  emotional, instinctive gestures complimented by the considered, observational accretion of discreet gestures. 

I employ strategies of abstraction and appropriation to develop a series of paintings on canvas or paper that examine and reify the inter-related constructs of archaic artifacts, reproduction and memory.  In this new work, exploring strategies of representing, among other things, ancient sculptural artifacts in the flexible physical and metaphysical space of painting leads me to new ways of coming to terms with image-making. 

Ten years before the terrible events of September 11 and our new-found interest in the Fertile Crescent, I have been mining this exquisite historical and cultural territory.  My premise is that art history begins before the Greeks.  I was a visiting artist in Geneva, Switzerland in January and February of 1991, arriving there one week before former President Bush commenced bombing Iraq.  Largely isolated from the language and thus frightened, I could forage in the vast forest of images of the cradle of civilization while around me the French-speaking Genevans spoke of bombs and war in an Arab land.  In this fragile isolation I created "objects without prejudice" that have, like a child's primer, informed to the present, my visual forays into a past that is not mine but that is all of ours. 

The twin strategies of abstraction and representation has given me a potent range of options:  for example, on a deliberately stained, paint-activated surface I might wrestle into a focal point the likeness of a known icon such as Tutmose's limestone bust of Nefertiti from my memory, a carved reproduction available to me from childhood.  Or I might create Her from my collection of old photographic reproductions, relics of old technology, in one work and from the most current reproductions in the next, the differences among them destabilize the truth of photography.  Or I choose to create from a mechanical aid such as an opaque projector, each method shifting the look and meaning of an image in a complex visual field.   Aggressive or tender corrections and accretions affect the final outcome of a work.  This outcome is a result of my use of current materials and methodology that gives us something new and I want to give you something new.
1990's Birth of the Virgin, Series I: i.
1980's Daphne I.