Painting keeps being interesting to me, even though the language I use may be the same language I began to define and discover thirty years ago. It is a language of grids, interrupted by marks and lines. Expectations set up and deceived. Regularity disrupted by touch. Rhythms established and changed. It's not that I make the same paintings over and over again. If problems did not continue to present themselves, I hope I would do something more immediately practical.
My first teacher, the late Leo Garel, referred to art as the extra organ for the emotions.We have ears for hearing, and eyes for looking, but our feelings occupy our whole body, our stomach can get tense, we have headaches our mouth gets dry. There is no special part of the body for our feelings and so these are expressed and felt with our whole being. At its best, art supplies an external organ, a structure for emotions.
My first mature piece is the etching "deer rhythmns" finished in 1971 and editioned in 1974. This piece gave me a way of including everything I loved about the deer, their speed and grace and rhythm and a way to leave out the things that don't interest me, like conventional rendering. Etching has often served as a medium of clarity in examining new ideas. Much as I have used drawings this year.
While I remain committed to Abstraction, as the most direct route to the emotions, I am influenced also by minimalism. There is a sense in which the more a painting is paired down, the more concentrated the expression becomes. One of the changes that has occurred in my work over the past 25 years is that the color is becoming more expressive and expansive. The influence of minimalism and the search for specific emotional colors may be best seen in the oils.
In addition, my trips to Cuba influence me. Cuba's emotional expansion, political constriction and light have had a profound effect on my work. One of the opportunities that came to me from showing in Cuba and meeting and talking with Cuban Artists, in particular Rigoberto Mena Santana, is that it confirmed and strengthened my faith in the expressive power of paint. While painting titles may not translate into foreign languages, paintings, drawings and etchings travel well. "Throwing Money At The Problem", for example, has no meaning at all in Cuba. But Cuban viewers respond to the visual and emotional language of this work.
My new paintings are all about painting. They are modest in their assumptions. They are resolutely themselves. There is no trickery or cleverness. They confirm our presence in front of the work and not in some imaginary, theoretical, literary space. At all times the dialogue is between viewer and painting.