Artist’s Statement

 

The author with Pluton.

This recent body of work I’ve called Fairyland has developed a definite camp sensibility (not dissimilar to the theatrical confections of Cecil Beaton in the 1920’s).  Camp, having been described as the lie that tells the truth, is an innate language I have been reticent to explore until recently.
Perhaps internalized homophobia has left me hesitant to make work so boldly queer – in every sense of the word – making art so openly flamboyant.  Purposely stamped with informed wit and a wry knowing humor, this new work is first and foremost intended to visually delight and be taken seriously .

Among other things, it touches on the weighty tableau of the Temptation of St. Anthony of the Desert and the perilous trials of Herakles.  My aesthetic expression is influenced by my instinctive inclination to lighten somber somewhat ponderous existential themes with a gay touch (consciously using this word in both its current identity-laden fraught understanding and the anachronistic yet more delightful sense).  While the work possesses decidedly camp sensibilities it is never ironic as is so often the current fashion.  I find irony frequently cynical; my work is never cynical for no other reason than the inherent affection I hold for my motley crew of heroes, saints and sinners .
I draw indiscriminately upon diverse seemingly unrelated archetypes and themes from many sources, including Classical mythology, British folklore, Wagnerian operas and the biblical text of my Catholic youth, doing so in order to touch upon that which is culturally familiar to me, to others – and if we believe Jung – found deeply rooted as archetypes in our souls. These eternal themes provide me ample, seemingly endless, means of interpretation. As a person steeped in the Western tradition of literature and the visual arts, it is a rich fertile field I feel most comfortable in adopting.
The work presented at Fairyland are these familiar themes, explored many times over by countless artist; yet this time reimagined through a prism of my own. My play upon cultural themes hopefully adds a sentence or two to this ongoing cultural conversation.  Working in variety of mediums, and a fabulist by nature, it is my intention to create a theatrical spectacle that is peculiar, visually arresting and deeply personal.  Although the work is made solely for my own delight, I hope others find the work meaningful in some way.  I also hope visitors feel inspired to resist the siren call of selfies and pause instead, if only for a moment, as these works are visually dense and to add their own voice to this enriching and frequently neglected conversation.

With that, welcome to my Fairyland.

 

 

The Temptation of Saint Anthony of the Desert, 2016, pencil on paper, 18 by 24″

 In my work I explore the extremes of human existence through the presentation of archetypal figures undergoing transformation and experiencing salvation, rebirth and enlightenment. My paintings are self-contained narratives concerned with universal themes—birth, life and death— that stem from my personal experiences and passions. These include my love of world mythology, Roman Catholic saints, the Italian Renaissance and classical painters such as Nicholas Poussin as well as low brow erotica and Surrealism.
I paint in an illustrative and narrative style, realistically rendering my figures and settings so they are recognizable though I do not shy away from depicting my dreamscapes and other concoctions from my imagination. Sometimes my backgrounds gravitate toward more expressive abstractions. I am an avid reader and my interests in classical mythology, philosophy, fiction and poetry have influenced my art production. I began working with Meso-american narratives and motifs but my vocabulary and interests have broadened to include multiple archetypes that express feelings of loss, sacrifice, death and rebirth. In my work I am searching to find the divine in the everyday to show that all life, in all its incarnations is indeed sacred and beautiful.
I work slowly and diligently. It is a painstaking but highly rewarding process. Often, I begin by drawing. Drawing is an important part of my studio practice as it allows me to hone in on my skills and ultimately improves the paintings. My work is idiosyncratic and very personal. The paintings are metaphors that explore human relationships and interactions from myriad points of view and ultimately are about my understanding of my place in an ever-changing world.