I’ve always approached my work as a kind of investigation driven by curiosity or concern, filtered through the haze of memory, historical event and the weight of cultural production. This has not always meant working along a prescribed path—my interest has never been to produce a “line” of anything—but instead remain open to the possibilities of materials, nuance, and chance, that often result in a very limited but complete body of work.
I grew up on the far South Side of Chicago where the Calumet River system meets South Side industry. In the1980’s I exhibited large watercolors and small watercolor/gouache paintings of that area’s urban landscapes and people. They portrayed Chicago’s industrial corridor and waterway as a sparsely populated imaginary land in an age of archaic production. Through the 1990’s, and early 2000’s, incorporating many of these ideas and motifs, I began to introduce more personal themes into large scale, multi-paneled oils and mixed media, and 3D works. I continue to incorporate this large/small scale mixed-media approach with my work today.
Between 2008 and 2013, I collaborated on, and contributed paintings for two fictional, art related films by Chicago writer and director Hugh Schulze, which were featured in over a dozen film festivals from Cannes, France to San Diego, California.
Since 1994, I’ve maintained an ongoing schedule of drawing and painting classes out of my studio, as well as teaching for several Chicago institutions including the Art Institute’s Ox-Bow program. Internationally I have taught at the Allihies Language and Art Centre, Cork Ireland, and since 2010 annually at Higham Hall College in England’s Lake District.
More recently, I’ve returned to basic black and white drawing, which has developed into the series “Drawings for Totems, Monuments and Sculpture.”
The series began as an experiment combining images from past work, plus wide-ranging visual and literary references to imaginary inventions, investigating possibilities for 3D constructions. This process uses etching and relief inks on paper (plus oil and acrylic as larger works developed on canvas) which are applied in a “stream of consciousness” manner using palette knives as drawing tools. And, as with any sculpture, the works are created from the base up.
For over 35 years my work has been included in many one-person, group, juried or invitational exhibitions, in galleries and museums that include The Butler Institute of American Art in Youngstown, Ohio, the Rockford Art Museum, Chicago Cultural Center, the Ukrainian Institutes of Art in Chicago and New York City, and Concordia College, Bronxville NY. I’ve received fellowships, awards and residencies, and have served as a juror for several grant making institutions.