During the 80’s and early 90’s, I was solely interested in landscape, particularly mountainscapes. This image held, for me, the power of Nature and The Earth. Rarely did I depict buildings, animals or people, but instead focused on the ancient power of ”landscapeness”…the world in its purest form, before human life.
To find inspiration for my works, I would ski, hike, and sometimes ice climb to the relatively untouched areas depicted. l usually did several small pencil sketches and, weather permitting, mini-watercolours. Upon returning to the studio I made larger cartoons [often 5’x6’ pastels) and, it the image still held that sense of “power of nature”, I would then express it in oil. I wanted my viewers to experience the power of empty, majestic, and omnipotent landscape rather than simply identifying with a specific location. In traveling to remote areas, I hoped to convey through my work the peacefulness and strength found in nature. ln the studio, I was surrounded by these empty landscapes and was filled with hope.
Three major events led to the evolution of my work away from landscape.
The first hints at change were from public response to the landscapes. Often I was Frustrated because my audience seemed more concerned with the geographical “placing” of each work rather than with “feeling” the moment and magic of a particular scene. I began searching for more ways to abstract the landscapes so as to try and convey the power of the Earth. Large brush strokes and thinner paint as well as glazes became more central to the work.
In 1991, I was invited to show the landscapes and an experimental installation on the effects of acid rain at the Currier Gallery in Manchester, NH. The installation involved sculpture, sound, drawing, and lighting, based on a year of research and observation ot New England’s dying forests. l was overwhelmed by a feeling of sadness and despair about our once pristine landscape. ln the year that followed, bombarded by the Gulf War, Pollution, Chechnya, Yugoslavia, China…as well as my own observations of our changing world, I found I could no longer capture the spiritual power that I had felt in Nature. This led to a series of abstract drawings about the New England forest.
An injury at this time forced me to temporarily change the way in which I worked. I no longer could hike to remote areas for inspiration so I turned within. There, I found a whole new and powerful Inner Landscape that helped heal the sadness and hopelessness that I had felt. The abstract work grew into a way to express the struggle to tind one’s own personal place among a rapidly changing Earth. They represent a journey; facing tears; standing on a solid piece of ground and suddenly having that ground pulled out from under you—and finding yourself floating through the unknown.
The abstract paintings are about the moment before some vital force is revealed. Revolution. Escape. Discovery. Or the moment after “loss” and finding that “loss” is Freeing, Floating, and Moving towards all possibilities.