1. How and when you first met Harry Roseman - I first met Harry in the mid 90s when I was a grad student at Yale, but didn’t get to have a real conversation with him until Catherine (Murphy) had a show in LA and we all went to dinner at a quiet little restaurant in the Hollywood Hills
2. A statement about your work and/or a brief autobiographical
statement. – This can be quite brief (but doesn’t have to be). - Two hundred yards of polished concrete gives me a chill that makes me want to paint it. Inside a grocery store, a wash of daylight lifts cool notes of color from a linoleum floor already spotted with muffled highlights cast from fluorescent lights above. Strangers are pushing carts around, texting, choosing frozen goods from a reach-in. I occupy the middle ground—the purgatory of the shared spaces of the everyday world of steel and glass we’ve made for ourselves.
The locations in the paintings are non-destinations, particularly North American kinds of nowhere, at once ubiquitous and yet largely unseen. These places give me the slightly sinking feeling that I know I’m somewhere, but not really there, present in an absent sort of way. In the mix of shame and awe that I feel, I am inspired by the potential for painting what I’m experiencing in the moment.
For me, making is thinking. My paintings are built on drawings as opposed to being painted from photographs. In order to convey what I’m experiencing in these spaces, I need to draw. This stage of constructing the painting is vital—building the set, casting the characters, lighting the scene. It is where I test the potential for painting a given situation—clearing an aisle to keep the deep space open, changing the proportions of the space, and leaving in only the elements that demonstrate my interest in the space and the figures that occupy it. The paintings themselves are the acid test for all of the ideas I have going into them. It is an ongoing process of investigation and distillation. For this show I plan to show the food chain that feeds into the studio paintings; the drawing and painting from observation, sketchbooks, preparatory drawings for paintings and color notes.
Light is particularly important for me. It is how you sell the fiction of the painting as a real moment. The artificial light in the spaces I paint is very different from the light in the Old Master paintings I admire, but my interest in conveying it clearly is the same.
Philosophically, my paintings address how we empty the moment we’re in by thinking about what we’re going to do or what we’ve already done. Dostoyevsky said that looking forward we die too soon and looking backward we die too late. The places I paint are largely architectural instantiations of this state of being.
I received my B.A. in 1991 from the University of Texas at Austin and my M.F.A. in 1994 from the Yale University School of Art. My thesis show from Yale was pretty much my first solo show in San Francisco where I showed for quite a while. I now show primarily in New York. I’m originally from Albuquerque, New Mexico, it’s high desert at the foot of the Sandia Mountains where the altitude, dry air and huge sweep of landscape taught me early on about my relative significance. This view has continued to manifest itself in my paintings in the way that I scale the figures to the painting overall- they’re important, but held in check by their relative scale to the painting.
- October 26, 2013