Artist Statement

While I am influenced by the southern tradition of narrative figure painting, my work focuses mainly on drawing. My drawings have paint, of course, but they are not really paintings—the drawn line is what tells the tale. I use painting and mixed media elements enhance the mark making, and reassert the shallow space of the picture plane. The pops and veils of color and the stained surfaces provide a ragged sort of embellishment. But line is what makes the edges and directs the characters and each mark provides a kind of unstable punctuation.

My drawings are informed by psychoanalytic theory, symbolist poetry, and absurdist humor. Each work has a cast of characters, images and elements, in flattened landscapes or ambiguous spaces. I set up these vignettes as a way of investigating what makes people be the way they are, but I am the worse sort of detective. I just like to pile up clues and rearrange them into melancholic jokes, farcical calamities and occasional moments of grace.

I think about thrownness, the ridiculous set of circumstances that make each person’s own horizon line. In these drawings, horizons are not there to separate earth and sky. They are a thing for standing on, ducking under or tripping over. They provide for points of appearance rather than vanishing.

We are perpetually in a state of medias res, the middle of the action. It feels like our lives are a story, but the past is soft and indistinct, the climax can’t be recognized and the denouement is necessarily unknowable. So the world of my drawings is peculiar. The figures, the marks, even the little shiny spots are talking to themselves and each other. The viewer gets to listen in, and take a peek—even put in their two cents.

I look at the way we travel, who shows up, the near misses and the head on collisions. These things make and unmake us. My narrative fragments are the moment before a divination— the tea leaves have settled, the alomancer has flung the salt; the bones have clattered to the ground. But the signs don’t point to the future, they are this moment right here: a sort of prophecy of the present.