The influence of post-war Los Angeles on minimalist art
within Southern California from the 1960's until today.
Torrance Art Museum, July 18-August 29, 2020
STREAMS IN THE DESERT, 2018
Steel downspouts, exterior enamel. 53 x 86 x 56 inches
Being here in time and space, in a body, in the world, is both quite ordinary and strangely mysterious. My art begins with making conceptualizations about this condition of being and looking out at the world. I make forms that seem appropriate, in varied scale, with some low tech manipulation such as painting. But I don't alter my materials so much as attempt to reveal, through accumulation, repetition, or placement, the metaphors inherent in their actuality.
References to phenomena such as water, light, stars and planets, flora and fauna are jammed up with the pervasive, sometimes deadening influences of contemporary life. The work is designed to quietly challenge the viewer's expectations, while raising questions about physicality and our ontological moorings.
Living in Los Angeles, a sprawl of glamorous banality, is an advantage to being aware of changes occurring in our global society. L.A. hangs tenuously on the edge of a continent, a metropolis symbolic around the world for a mythological urge toward paradise. Our fair weather landscape abounds in Eden-inspired gardens, yet we desire escape from real time and space through the powerful distractions of entertainment, addiction, speed, and computer technology. Excess, spectacle, and artificiality stifle any journey toward a deeper ground of being.
So I go shopping! Looking for unexpected purchases, I follow our consumerist instincts on a kind of up-dated, 19th century expedition to explore exotic locals, wonder at diversity, and collect specimens for study and comparison. Back in the studio, I construct works with a reductive impulse, inspired by the directness and simplicity of Minimalism. Humility, humor, and irony seem more appropriate than angst, yet often metaphors and analogies suggest an environmental concern or even apocalyptic understatement.
My artworks attempt to be grounded in Realism or what is actually present, influenced by the empiricism of the natural sciences. But I remain open to the Romanticism of a spiritual or sacred longing for revelation and authentic transcendence, what I would call ‘hyper-desire’. This is the profound paradox at the core of all true religion and artistic activity.