Ground Force:

Written for the exhibition, Department of the Interior, Human Nature

Curated by Lynn Schmidt, the Elipse Art Center, Arlington, VA


My point of reference is the ground under my feet. For a long time I thought about how to paint landscape. I wanted to make something as real as living nature--things as full of force as the humus in the woods from which seedlings spring. I didn't know how, but as it happened, I began with a lesson from the woods: each thing comes in it's own time--provide the layers of matter seemingly dead, and with patience, out of this process comes something of life.


The idea for a picture often starts with words that are curiously weightless until I see the image, with it's history grounded in experience, on the surface of the picture. Time has been spent layering stuff on and taking some away. In the end, what goes on top may be a simple form, just a few lines--something inevitable. Paint has become ground and atmosphere, the southern red clay I use as pigment hangs vertically, defying it's horizontal destiny.


The ever changing atmosphere in nature is abuzz producing forms of perfection that eventually fall back into chaos then come up differently. Driving down the highway and walking unprotected in the wilderness, I feel a part of this, but there is the need to build shelter and protect ourselves and our young. Time goes by, gravity takes it's toll, and we rejoin the earth. Old age and death may offer the next magnificent, sometimes difficult route to another place.