The urban environment is a collage of varied textures, unlikely
juxtapositions, monumentality and often surprising beauty, always in the process of self
reclamation. And that has led me to incorporate collage into my own painting practice.
As a painter, I’ve enjoyed looking at Chicago and many other cities from different
angles, including bird’s eye views, the moody turns of Chicago’s Lower Wacker Drive
and areas of natural habitat surviving in the city. Initially, I used collage to stitch together
visual elements taken from the built urban environment, partly as a response to the ever
changing view through the windshields of our cars. It was faster than sketching.
Collage enables me to incorporate multiple views, abstract shapes, pattern, and
distortion. An added bonus for me is the opportunity to work with a variety of media
including printed materials, ink, paint and colored paper. This is a process I have come
to enjoy because it can brings into play mixed media and visual elements from a
limitless supply of sources.
I grew up in an abstract expressionist household, but one free of dogma about what an artist should or could paint.
During my early childhood, my father completed his M.A. in painting at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Our house was filled with abstract work created by himself and his fellow students. When I started college, it was my intention to follow him into the commercial art field, whereby he had supported our family.
Detours abound, however, and I found myself after college working as a news reporter and editor, and later in public relations. When, in my 30s, I started painting, it seemed analogous to the craft of news writing, and the interests in one area sometimes overlapped into another.
A common concern throughout my work has been light, regardless of media or genre. In regards to reporting and writing, this concern manifested itself in a quite literal desire to scrutinize things and to express them verbally with clarity. With painting, it is a similar desire for clarity combined with the sensual thrill of light in its endless permutations. My painting has explored the textures and juxtapositions of the urban landscape, remnants of our native prairie, the imagery of popular culture, still life and the human figure. In trying to portray these varied interests, light has always been a central concern and motivating factor. Recent work has incorporated abstraction (back to my roots), pattern and collage, but light remains a central motivating force.