I collect a vast mental file cabinet of images, compiled from museums, art history books, and the digital world. Centuries of makers have contributed to the stack. In each chapter of my life, with its associated preoccupations, particular images have settled atop the pile, unbidden, calling for my attention. I don’t know why I was drawn to paint small, empty Baroque architectural maquettes during the pandemic, or enormous 17th Century Dutch still lifes amid early motherhood. Only in painting them I came to understand they reflected a desire to articulate loneliness or the need for control. My restless, scrolling, collage-like approach allows me to converse with a language of images, craft traditions and, especially, the vernacular of color.
During a recent year of travel I returned to landscape painting to address contradictory feelings. Traveling awakens me to beauty, but also to the limitations of my perspective and the weight of climate change. I made paintings that fit in my carry-on. They depict dramatic, fractured landscapes and wild animals, observed not in nature but in diorama displays -- fictional tableaus with a slippery connection to political and ecological reality.
Upon my return, I began to explore my unease about the state of the world using artificial neural networks and diffusion models. This suddenly ubiquitous technology has ingested the entire history of image-making into its own file cabinet. AI has mastered our shortcuts to illusion and hacked our visual cortex. Ask for a bird, you get something that instantly registers as a bird, yet… isn’t. Elephants come with three legs or three tusks. I use these generated images as prompts, and then feed my paintings back to the system in an iterative process.
The paintings that result hover near abstraction and read as landscapes, but at an uncanny remove. They capture something that has always fascinated me: the simultaneous veracity of the mark on the surface and the pictorial space it creates—the color contrast of a brushstroke and its resemblance to a bird in flight.