These drawings are meditations on events in my life that led me to become more in touch with my mortality. They are also meditations on the calamity of others, whose travails I’ve witnessed indirectly through the news.
Two strategies in the figurative work address these themes in contrasting ways. In one, self-portraits are presented as botanical illustrations. These drawings are allegorical responses to my having experienced anaphylactic shock after being stung by wasps while trimming my bushes. In the other, my body is traced as I sit on the paper and play with my children’s toys, which are arranged in ways that recall terrorist attacks. In both, the human body is at once absent and present, fleeting and permanent.
Like this figurative work, the landscape drawings are meditations on the process of entropic change, from stability into transition. They reveal my efforts to give form to instability, perhaps a typical human response to forces beyond one’s grasp.
The medium of charcoal itself is for me a momento mori. For no matter how carefully applied the charcoal is, it is still only particles of burnt wood resting on the surface of paper. This fragile quality serves as an ephemeral subtext to the considerable time required to produce the drawings.
I want my works to still retain traces of ideation so evident in drawings one would find within a personal sketchbook. The incompleteness of forming thoughts, no matter how refined some passages become, allows the visual language to oscillate between sign and signified, between individual mark and collective representation. Charcoal in powder form and watercolor are media that resist mastery, and that is why they are useful to me.