visual artist

Mental Fortress, acrylic on canvas, 30" x 40" | 2022

These paintings are for the next world. The landscapes and life of the next world. A reason to live long and form the next world. Mining the sensations of swimming in the ocean, I convey a sense of relaxed alertness. I use painting as a tool to help me to reconcile feeling too strange for this world, yet still loving my existence. I’m part of a rich lineage of queer artists that use their hands and minds to forge a space for strange dualities: kindness and treachery; opulence and desiccation; kinship and solitude.

My current paintings travel between the realms of abstraction and surrealism and are a mental buffer between my work in arts education. From that mental fortress, I paint to mull over the memory of  being strange and the yearning to experience normality. In its essence, my paintings are an investigation of mark-making and color as a way to define my internal space. Often painting with a limited palette, I’m interested in creating a fervent conversation between opposing hues. Using a slurry of translucent acrylic and paper fiber layers, I create biological and mechanical forms that flicker in and out of focus. I use scraping and sanding as key strategies to knock back that which is solid, and imperfectly reveal the interior of the painting. 

In compositions that begin as a still-life of plant parts, I render, then transform intimate botanical moments in my backyard’s ecosystem into creatures that inhabit my invented spaces.  My paintings depict self-contained biomes, but also contribute to a life-long world-building project.  As if the paintings themselves were alive, I think of them as kin that converse, quarrel and require tending.  I’m fascinated how a painting can exist as a static image, but upon examination also take the viewer through time as one peers into its brush history of edits and alterations. 

I believe we create fantasy worlds as a way to hold our own realities at arm’s length; to get out of the thick of being the main character and soar above life with the clarity of a narrator. My painting practice allows me to hover above — just a bit.