A basic tenet of the creative process is transformation: the altering of reality so that the artist’s expression can exist as something new altogether. I believe that one of the essential functions of art is to make the familiar appear somehow unfamiliar, to make reality a little strange. As a painter I am attracted to common objects and the stories their visual relationships can portray. As I study and interpret seemingly simple forms I am continually reminded that beauty and mystery can be found in anything if one takes the time to look for, and appreciate, what might be revealed. In contemplating such potential, I have come to appreciate the fact that objects themselves have the power to absorb and reveal both human and divine demeanor. I like that connection.
For many years I have been enticed by the transformative power of metaphor. During this time I have come to admire the beautiful elegance, refined delicacy and humble function of a simple silver bowl and the potential its attributes offer. This bowl first intrigues me as a stimulating, playful, and technically challenging subject to paint. Unpretentious in design, yet complex in its fascinating visual surface, I appreciate the historical tradition of this bowl as well as its symbolic evocation of purity, refinement, and redemption. Initially crafted as a commemorative object, and often given as a trophy or prize for some notable accomplishment, the physical existence of this vessel has been tempered by fire, and stands redeemed. But even in its redemptive state the vessel can succumb to tarnish if it is neglected or unused. So, as I study this vessel I see these distinctive physical and symbolic qualities as a compelling parallel to the characteristics of our own spiritual existence. The essence of this vessel is its openness. It is ready and waiting to be used, and at times seems to be filled with a distinct, but indefinable presence.
By elevating the silver vessel to a place of intellectual contemplation, I attempt to portray something that isn’t visibly in place, but can become evident if time is taken to ponder the relationships that are presented. As a source for the sacred, the simple elegance and refined presence of this vessel bring the viewer face-to-face with purposeful metaphors for biblical truths. This concept is one of incarnation. It is my intent that my images reproduce the look of the visible world, but simultaneously offer something beyond mere physical appearances in revealing something greater, deeper, and more spiritually significant. The bowl emerges as a vehicle for a continuing story of meditation, mystery, truth, and reverent beauty. By taking the commonplace and lifting it up to a state of contemplation, the vessel exists to glorify, and it exists to signify.
As my faith informs my vision, it becomes the reason for my work to exist. Consequently, I see my images as devotions, as a way to draw the viewer more deeply into contemplative meditation as it taps into one’s spiritual realm in some way. I like to think that my images are reminders of what we already know, but because the familiar is now somehow unfamiliar we pause as we are brought into a realm of transcendence, into a realm of revelation, even if words do not come easily.