Painting Since Darwin
Many of my paintings are emergent beings, creatures. They emerge from inchoate visions that become specific on the canvas, or specific images that go through a period of incoherence and mutation only to become, if I am fortunate, coherent again.
This year is the 150th anniversary of the publication of the Origin of Species. The creatures of Darwin's world, including ourselves, are not "intentional." They are not designed. They are created by natural variation, mutation, and the struggle for existence.
Before Darwin's time painters usually made a preliminary drawing or a smaller "rehearsal" painting which they then executed on the canvas. Many artists since Darwin's time no longer work from preliminary designs, or anything pre-ordained.
My paintings begin with a feeling - or rather, an undefined vision or a rudimentary image. But the image mutates, sometimes from a failure of intention, an error of hand or eye, or artistic confusion or bewilderment. In painting there is always a moment of "lostness," of disorientation, or free fall. If I am lucky, through patience, will, or compassion, I am able to find the painting I have lost, a favored off-spring, or a member of a completely new species.
Just as the struggle for survival in nature yields creatures of terrible ferocity and stark ugliness, but also miraculous beauty, my hope is that some of my paintings emerge from mutated intentions, despair and inability, and become something real and full of grace.