The recent paintings are my allegorical response to living in a world of global upheaval, refugees, rising seas and a general sense of foreboding. In an effort to adapt I look for a bit of color and humor in the rhythms of foundering vessels, displaced seas, heavy cargo loads, and the oily sheen of our collective footprint.

Wrap drawings 2015

Drawing is always something I do when I need to break loose and get some raw energy into my work. It is satisfying to draw on a large scale because it is unapologetic and fast. It’s like shouting objects into existence.

These drawings were a direct response to the idea of “Drawing Big: The Immediacy of Touch”- a show curated by John Tomlinson. Drawing, which is of course the most immediate and basic art skill, combined with bigness, of a sort that is not just about scale– speaks of gesture and self-awareness through gesture. It is also about the certainty of drawing’s connection to one’s immediate reality, to a boldness that comes from knowing the subject through the act of drawing it. The “Immediacy of touch” both acknowledges generations of digital tools and their progress in reproducing a sense of touch, and asserts the primacy and directness of the hand–idea and feeling made visible with the utmost economy.

The subjects and materials I chose were right in front of me: Chairs from my mother’s former apartment that were still wrapped in blankets, and shrink wrapped for transport and storage. They seemed full of the forms and contrasts I was interested in; soft on the outside, hard in the center, known and unknown, revealed and concealed, slow billowing forms, fast whip-bound shapes you may or may not even recognize as chairs. The way they are all suspended in time and transition appeals to me. I have treated them as portraits, and they have become personalities for me in the unfolding narrative–somewhat ancestral in feeling, since some of the chairs have seen 3 or 4 generations of my family, but I have not specifically identified them with individuals.

Charcoal on bed sheet is ephemeral, and the fear of smudging or erasing is part of the experience. I put one of the drawings through the wash to find out whether it would disappear, and it didn’t. The drawings may fade somewhat, but the bones are there.