I am an abstract expressionist painter based in northern New Mexico. I studied painting at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia, PA, where I also began my exhibition career.
For me, painting is a refuge and a sacred practice of connection and renewal that defies easy explanation. Maybe, the best word for it is “prayer.”
As a child, I was blessed (cursed, some might say) with profound mystical experiences. In private moments of searching, the ego - and my subjective awareness of time - would completely slip away. When I returned to my normal state of mind, details of my everyday life (my name, my house, my body) felt unfamiliar and surreal. For decades, I did not speak of these experiences, but I remembered them in quiet moments when the materiality and suffering of our earthly lives became too much.
By my teenage years, I had lost the ability to reach this altered state of consciousness, but I still craved a connection to a more fundamental reality. Although I didn’t understand it this way at the time, my painting practice began as a kind of substitute: private, cathartic, and necessary. When no amount of talking or wandering could cure the ache, I pulled out the paints, the turpentine, and the crusty brushes, holed myself up somewhere, and painted, sometimes for days and always in total silence. In the end, I was exhausted, but - somehow - cured.
Despite this, I did not initially pursue painting as a full-time vocation, chasing more conventional career paths and painting in private only when necessary. Finally, a health scare and the news that I was about to become a father shook me out of it. I knew that I could paint and be whole - or I could continue denying my true self and disappear into bitterness and frustration. After three years of law school and six years of legal practice, I put in my notice and enrolled in full-time studio coursework at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.
Soon after, I began showing and selling work. I moved from the urban bustle of Philadelphia to the quiet expanses of rural New Mexico to pursue further intensive studio practice and to surround myself with the strong spiritual energy and peacefulness of this enchanted place. Since arriving, I have continued painting prolifically and exhibited widely in galleries and public art centers from Santa Fe, New Mexico, to Moab, Utah, to Denver, Colorado. My work is held in private collections across the West, and I was recently selected for my first public art commission in Gallup, New Mexico. In addition to my studio practice and exhibition calendar, I also teach out of my studio, focusing on expressive art-making and the power of art to heal.
Like nothing else since my childhood meditations, painting allows me to move beyond my day-to-day self and connect with the spontaneous, creative energy underlying and animating all things. I hope that, through my work, you, too, find a connection or at least an opening to that powerful, healing place.
At its best, my experience of painting is meditative, exultant, and charged. Like nothing else, painting pulls me outside of my day-to-day self and connects me to the spontaneous, creative energy animating all things. I paint for this experience, but I also paint to bring some artifact of this energy into the visible world, as a reminder of the transcendent beauty and creative power that lurks around us, almost always under the surface of our conscious perception.
My process begins with a flash of connection, a fleeting moment of profound communion with the mystery of reality. A variety of objects and environments trigger these experiences, but the trigger is almost almost related to nature. Flocking piñon jays were the initial seed of inspiration for my solo show this Spring. The color, forms, texture, and inconceivable age of shards of petrified wood triggered the series I am currently working on.
While my work is usually triggered by something in the outside world, I do not literally illustrate the phenomena that inspire me. The truth that I experience in these moments of communion is without representational form, so, to truly honor the inspiration, my paintings must also transgress the figurative. Instead of transcribing the worldly reality, I use bold color, lyrical, expressive gesture, and abstraction to convey the essence of my experience.
I paint in fast, aggressive periods, when I welcome and surrender to the creative spark, followed by quiet, meditative periods, when I commune with the work-in-progress and listen. In the end, I am looking for a combination of active and passive energy, compelling, evocative color and value interactions, and a dynamic, yet harmonious, composition that “matches” the resonance of the experience that inspired the work – a visual translation of the sublime beauty that I have been fortunate enough to glimpse.
I hope you connect with it.