“There is no such thing as a good painting about nothing” Mark Rothko
My work has always been an investigation of mark-making and abstraction. I
primarily use surfaces like canvas and paper, on which I sew, burn, and
pour; they are simple processes, often made using everyday tools like hot
plates, irons, and charcoal lighters. The familiar is expanded to
abstraction and given weight through scale and repetition. Mark-making is
one of the most basic elements of art, but through the formation of a
series of similar gestures, each mark begins to carry its own meaning
toward a collective whole. I enjoy exploring the consequences of making
marks with burns. The act of balancing a force of destruction that is by
its nature uncontrollable.
I use this process to mark the passage of time, to commemorate a journey,
an endurance, or a state of mind, all building together to form a pattern.
You leave a mark, you make your mark, you mark to distinguish, you mark
something up. The pristine surface of a canvas or sheet of paper is
indelibly affected by a burn, or the entrance of a needle; its former state
can never be recovered. This interference is in some ways reminiscent of
wounding, but I channel a process suggestive of destruction into control
These actions are an intervention into the ordinary state of things. Many
of the patterns I create echo forms occurring in nature, including
oyster-shaped concentric ovals, seedlike flecks, and irregular loops.
Nonetheless, they are made using deliberative processes and manmade
materials, and much of my work speaks to the tension between organic forms
I first burn a pattern, and then introduce another element onto or
underneath the surface. Often the raw material remains, but in some cases,
I use oil paint and add colour that show through the negative space on an
ecru canvas. I’m interested in layering—what is taken away, what is still
there but out of sight, what lies underneath. It’s an intuitive process of
responding to each layer, like a conversation between me and the work until
the composition is fully resolved. The finished piece reaches beneath the
very skin of ourselves, engaging in a dialogue between surface and
While my work has evolved over the years, the same fundamental drive is
there; I have been working on mark-making and abstraction since the 1990s.
I draw from an arsenal of materials, aesthetic choices, and techniques. I
set some aside at times, to revisit them years later. After a twelve-year
hiatus using burning as a process in my work following 9/11, it is only in
the last three or four years that I have begun again. A sensitivity to the
changing environment around me has always been important to my work.
Artists that inspire me include Lucio Fontana, Otto Piene, Ursula von
Rydingsvard, Dadamaino, The Gutai Group, and Surface/Support. I am drawn to
their strong sense of epoch, their desire to explore the meaning, texture,
and effect of the interplay of materials.