The focus in “Behind the Scenes” is the energy that pushes from the other side of the picture. All of my work hopes to represent what’s invisible to conventional senses, to suggest that reality doesn’t end with what we know. I’m fascinated with the mystery of “The force that through the green fuse drives the flower.” The question of what pushes life into being is why I study the boundary that makes it visible.
In the drawings prior to this year, creating an impression of something pushing from behind the surface, coupled with our resistance to giving up old layers was the primary focus. By taking these drawings to paint, using oils on panel more tactile illusion is possible. Using skin as the metaphor for the boundary that gives that energy an appearance of materiality, the psychology of our relationship to that energy is expressed through the condition of the skin, thick to thin in “Angry Kitten”, inflamed and diseased in “Snarling Puppy”. Each includes the presence of the past in the visible layers thinking of time as nested, not linear.
The two new drawings use the additional restraint of the frame using the paper’s surface as the element that seemingly holds back. This helped me work out what was necessary for the relationship with what holds it back. By including the illusion of an actual frame the sense of the painting bulging toward the viewer is increased. The whole series resists both the conventions of painting as a window and figure/ground breakdown. Without a “figure” I am able to evade recognition. I want things to look real without identity. Besides skin, what can be identified, staples and buckles, are obviously not what the picture is about. By using the image of being restrained by something I hope to dramatize primitive emotions held in the flesh and stimulate mirror neurons and their attending physical reactions without familiar features. Snarling Puppy uses disintegrating skin to reflect on the corruption of hman feeling.