August 2019

When I paint, I listen to my materials, my own voices and the paintings themselves. I reduce the noise, almost to a void. When it’s quiet, I can channel impulses that I’m not consciously aware of – such as the colors of a glacial landscape or the cancers of a presidential election. Still, I don’t make a picture of something.

Instead, I improvise. My instrument is oil and canvas or watercolor and paper. Sometimes the instrument includes other surfaces, such as family archives or maps. Whatever the materials, the painting is an ecosystem with its own laws and gifts – weather, gravity, plants, hot sun, erosion, history. I enter cautiously and try to leave no trace.

When I improvise, time stops. For a few moments, instead of worrying about the world, I can just be, like weather or a wave. My body says “go” or “no-go” to every increment of line and color. Whether it's too much darkness, not enough complexity, too much allusion, not enough history, too much geometry, not enough singularity – when I’m engaging with these, I become part of the ecosystem. I aspire to a poem without words.