ARTIST STATEMENTS

NIGHT TRIPPER is a series of small oil paintings of seasonally abandoned beach roads depicted at the moment just before night falls. These paintings feature two spots on Cape Cod: Route 6 at the Provincetown/Truro line, and a secluded route that leads to Head of the Meadow, a wildly beautiful beach in the National Seashore which featured prominently in an earlier body of my work Platinum Sea, paintings of the surface of the ocean (2013-16). This work picks up where that left off, substituting the surface of the road for that of the sea, and following a circuitous journey through the strange, tattered and often charming back roads and scenic byways of America, an entire country that has itself been famously characterized* as more of a road than a destination.

The setting hovers between the built world and the natural landscape. The perspective is that of a traveler in a motor vehicle - either a driver or a passenger. No people are pictured, but each composition preserves some residue of the human presence: a power line, a building, or simply the road itself. The once orderly contours of these man-made structures are shown surrendering to the lush, raw landscape in which they appear. Tree lines skid out of focus, signs, telephone poles and items less defined appear and vanish suddenly along the side of the road. Illuminated briefly by a headlamp or the fading light of dusk, these familiar things can seem menacing or reassuring by turns. Twilight is an ambiguous time, a time in-between, when vision is least reliable, especially for driving. Daylight is greatly reduced, but it's not quite dark enough for the full benefit of headlights. By operating within this constraint, I am deliberately engaging a subject that resists depiction in an attempt to merge the "felt" with the "seen". This can be frustrating, but magical and exciting when all goes well. It is like swimming below the surface in a pond: a deep dive followed by a period of nearly sightless exploration, feeling around for something that remains just out of reach, like waves in the ocean that seem to break farther and farther away each time you think you have waded out far enough to meet them. Forms are murky, shimmering, refusing to resolve into a fixed state. Nighttime is fluid, rife with possibility, fear and loathing, intrigue and dread. Vision is unreliable and safety is an issue, but so is relief. Daylight is so demanding! The night-especially traveling at night-offers protection, a respite, like a spell that conjures a brief suspension of responsibility and time as one hurtles through space completely enveloped in the totality of that experience.

* "America is not a place, it is a road." - Mark Twain ............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................

BIOMETRIC Self Portraits
These highly detailed oil on canvas paintings of my own fingertips and palms are minutely but deliberately altered to obscure and thereby protect my personal information, while maintaining the appearance of rigorous authenticity. Those that feature fingertips are presented in ornate gold-leafed frames, an accoutrement that serves as an unsubtle signifier of value to underscore the preciousness of both paintings and personal data in contemporary culture. The images appear to brashly expose sensitive information, but in reality, important details have been skewed to protect the precise barrier that seems to have been breached. The whorls and intersecting lines have been tweaked ever so slightly so they cannot be matched with any living individualÕs fingerprint.

Conspicuous displays of wealth have long been a staple of portraiture, and the ornate gold frames in which portraits are typically displayed bestow importance upon the subject, and upon the painting as both cultural artifact and commodity. And, of course, Personal Data is the new "gold".

The relatively recent advent of ubiquitous computing facilitates this work, as well as the need for biometric identification. High-resolution images are now so easily captured and reproduced that the basis of many of these paintings are cell phone photos. This and the growing failure rate of conventional security measures increases the demand for biometric authentication which is harder, though not impossible, to fake.

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BIG COUNTRY, are paintings based on imagery glimpsed in my rearview mirrors as I navigate North America by motorcycle. Many of the paintings are tiny and situated within actual motorcycle mirror housings, depicting scenes from that quintessential American rite of passage: the road trip.

The series title references the late artist Edward Avedisian's pithy summation of our fragmented national psyche: "It's a big country, and the only thing keeping it together is television", he declared in nineteensixtysomething. When I read this in 2013, I laughed out loud. More recently, I have been moved by the potential seriousness of the remark. Either way, I have seen the sentiment borne out repeatedly on journeys that lead me away from my typical social and cultural milieu. In an effort to avoid "the slab", as the Interstate is known in motorcycle-speak, I seek out back roads and scenic byways, visiting places that have yet to be subsumed by big box stores and global chain restaurants. The reward is a front row seat on an America that is rife with odd and charming, if somewhat shabby idiosyncrasies, many of which appear in the work. Unlike my previous work, these paintings operate within an implied narrative construct. Almost every piece contains some residue of the human presence (a sign, a road, a building), whose slick, man-made contours can be observed surrendering to the lush, raw landscape in which they appear.

It is not only the country's cultural range that informs this work. The wild variation in climate and topography of the United States is staggering. And motorcycling offers a unique perspective on this. Unlike the driver of a car, a motorcyclist is embedded within the landscape, gaining first-hand physical experience of the actual world-an activity that is declining in an increasingly digital culture where the physical distribution of people and goods has steadily become less urgent, if not completely unnecessary. More to the point, one doesn't actually have to travel to see anything anymore. So I am not only documenting this strange and spectacular place, but the act of visiting it as well. The rearview mirror becomes a metaphor for the road trip, as it too recedes into the past.
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PLATINUM SEA/FLESH
In my recent paintings of skin and the ocean, each of these living surfaces is isolated and reduced to its fundamental physical properties. My focus is on how these powerful, natural phenomena are experienced by human beings: one extremely personal, the other profoundly indifferent. In the ocean paintings, the water is described in a muted palette made up exclusively of red, white and indigo. My perspective is extreme, bringing the composition to the brink of abstraction; situational cues such as a horizon line, light source, (or body contour in the case of the skin paintings), are intentionally cropped out. What remains is an unbounded section of sensual topography, the actual scale and orientation of which is unknowable and unimportant. This, combined with the essentially fractal nature of this subject matter, fosters an ambiguity that keeps the focus on the materiality of both the subject and the painting.

I bring the same conceptual approach to my paintings of skin. However, in contrast to the water, these works are executed in lurid color which alludes to the simataneous feelings of alarm and exhileration that I have regarding (my own) physical existence, a fluid vascilation between vitality and vulnerability that characterizes the human condition.

Throughout, I use my own digital photographs as source imagery. The technology enables me to closely examine things as disparate as the human hand and the ocean with equal facility. Using a device no more powerful or expensive than a cell phone, I can capture a level of detail or moment in time that is not accessible through casual observation. And through careful editing I identify elements or phrases within the larger context that can be both intimate and universal, timeless and ephemeral. This process mirrors contemporary visual experience, recently described as "The Forever Now" in a painting show of the same name at MoMA. The term refers to a flattening of time into a perpetual present, resulting from the vast, ever-expanding collective memory of the digital age, which blends bits (and bytes) from a seemingly limitless palette of images and information set free from their historical meaning. ............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................

BETTER LIVING THRU CHEMISTRY is a limited edition sculpture series consisting of brightly colored glass and mixed media capsule-shaped objects tagged with text messages, social media iconography, and the language of pop psychology. Inspired in equal parts by the ubiquitous presence of social media in contemporary culture and the simultaneous rise of direct - to - consumer pharmaceutical marketing, the work pokes fun at the alternately amusing and depressing correlations between the two phenomena as both are enlisted to over - simplify the human condition and expedite contentment with a familiar recipe of instant gratification and seductive packaging. With a nod to the 1960's Dow Chemical advertising campaign and titles like I <3 U (I Love You) and ((H)) (Big Hug), the work calls attention to the absurdity and futility of trying to convey such things in 140 character messages composed in a format that does even not lend itself to the use of punctuation let alone real emotion.

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The BOVINE PORTRAITS IN HEXADECIMAL HUE are a series of monochromatic oil paintings of cows. The work explores themes of existentialism, portraiture, and the impact of the digital on visual experience. Each painting begins with a digitally manipulated "head shot", the hue for which is chosen from the 216 colors of the basic Web palette. Initially inspired by a visit to a dairy farm in Buck's County, PA where I was mainly impressed by the size of these creatures, I quickly became captivated the facial "expressions" implied by their anatomical idiosyncrasies such as long, luxurious eyelashes and heavy brooding brows, that seemed to suggest a wide range of human emotions like fear, tenderness and vulnerability, even anger. Clearly this is projection on my part, one that is often shared by the viewer. But it mads me start to think about how these images relate to the genre of portraiture. Historically, portraiture has been largely a tale of the very rich immortalized in self-important displays of wealth and power. In creating these works, I have elevated cattle, a traditional symbol of that wealth, to this same stature. Since embarking upon the project in early 2003, I have completed over 50 Bovine Portraits.

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