I’ve always been attracted to very small work, paintings or drawings that could be held in one’s hands, that are the size of the “mind’s eye.” It sometimes feels as portable, intimate, and private as a passport or a photo of a family member in a wallet. Most of my drawings are the size of playing cards; my paintings range from six feet on a side, down to several inches.
At the same time, I long for expansive views and a sense of limitless space that’s rarely possible in everyday life. That usually means creating imaginary landscapes in which the elements and the spaces are suggested and felt rather than depicted.
The challenge of meeting both these objectives in the same piece is one I never tire of.
My artistic interests are largely philosophical in nature, ideas looking for an armature that will give them a visual existence. Moving from the conceptual to the visually particular—the macro to the micro—is a fraught process that often misses the mark as the idea dominates and the image becomes its illustration. To avoid this, I allow for a dialog between the visual motif that has suggested itself, and the idea that’s looking for embodiment. In my most successful paintings and drawings, the impact of the visual image pushes the original idea aside and leads me into new territory—from the microcosm of observable reality back to the macrocosm of ideas and perceptions—and this outcome is the real reason I paint. The possibility of following the known into the unknown, as one does in any other kind of research, is endlessly compelling.
Image at top of page: Dozier Bell, 17:00, acrylic on panel, 12 x 24 in., 2016 (photo: Dave Clough)