The White Columns Curated Artist Registry is an online catalog of digital images documenting the work of artists who are not affiliated with a commercial gallery in New York City. Each submission is reviewed by our curatorial staff; in order to be considered for the registry, one must submit work digitally via this website.
I am a storyteller of sorts, staging scenarios that often involve the human figure. These people might be absorbed in particular activities, or prostrate, frozen in a moment, and are situated in various (usually interior) spaces: cavernous elaborate stately rooms, institutional spaces, or oppressive cells and cabins…all ‘species of spaces’ as the writer George Perec would say. It is often the spatial and architectural aspect imbedded in a story that particularly interests me as if space itself might be considered a character. Sometimes the figure is absent.
The conditions of painting, a medium of stasis, act as another kind of interior; a canvas being an analogous spatial box which has its own walls, floors, ceilings: limitations as a room does. I am interested in how particular dynamics, and narratives surrounding certain buildings and spaces engender a sense of the uncanny.
Formal concerns are equally important. Images might suggest certain meanings but are also motivated and driven by intuitive feelings for particular placements and combinations of shape, pattern, tone and colour. Certain motifs recur such as beds, partitions, screens, and these might have psychological resonances, but are at the same time planal divisions to describe space and/or flatness. I welcome an element of doubt creeping in and often create spatial confusion through the application of paint. The background, rather than sitting back, begins to challenge the foreground for attention on the picture plane. A game of push/pull with negative and positive spaces.
My methods are constantly changing and developing. I tend to work on large or very small format paintings, though relations of scale within the painting, regardless of size, are often similar. The larger canvases are more straightforward ‘easel’ paintings and are often built up and sanded down, and re-painted, a process of adding and subtracting.
The smaller paintings are naturally more intimate forcing the viewer to adjust to their size and peer into the painting. These are often directly onto old hardback books, the covers in their colour and shape suggesting imagery to me and it seems important that they are second-hand books, with a history and usually a smell. I work on book covers over successive coats of varnish, trapping different parts of an image (and sometimes collage) within the accumulating layers. My work is not pre-conceived but emerges through the manipulation of materials and the suggestions that this activity provokes, layering and re-working the images until something essential coalesces. The format of the books connects the paintings to literature and storytelling. Storytelling which in the shadow of modernism is still something of a dirty word but is, I think, a universal impulse and need.
I explore explicit and ambiguous narratives derived from various sources: personal experiences, second-hand accounts, passages culled from literature, scenes from films, anecdotes, and jokes. History, or histories, written or spoken, interest me and certain pockets of history, often obscure or seemingly trivial accounts and episodes, stimulate ideas and suggest imagery and meanings.