I feed on the stored cultural baggage of intimate domestic space – and research historical ceramics, textiles, and heraldry. Processed by an imagination raised on Disney and coloring books, this physical stuff of the world encourages me to play my own language games. Educated at a time when historical decorative arts traditions were a zone forbidden by late modernism and my “rigorous” faculty,
I now happily indulge in a sense that the border between ceramic decoration or textile design and painting is a permeable membrane.
Through studying and making ceramic work, faience in Quimper, talavera in Dolores Hidalgo, and maiolica in Deruta, I have had close encounters with artisans from centuries past and their modern counterparts. Their exceptional brushwork and iconographic invention inspires a “refictionalizing” in my paintings. I want to converse with codes of taste, the shorthand developed to describe nature, and the idyllic and pastoral slamming against repossessed abstracted power icons. In “Strapaese”, the heraldic wild boar at right meets the “moderne” of formica design at left, with ghosts of organic abstraction strewn between. In “The Hunt in the Kitchen” I mimic tile work that might surround a sink – where a potato is peeled – a deer is torn to shreds by dogs. I look to give myself as much permission to raid the attic of the past as I can find. Our stories are told, coded and repeated on objects humble or luxurious – personal and public. Recombinatory strategies feel like magic to me and the dependable vibration of figure/ground never bores me. I want the paintings to exude humor for the present, respect for the past and most of all to tweak curiosity.