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Artist Statement


“Occasional Void”

(excerpt from Charles Wright’s Lives of the Saints)



The paintings in this show span from 2009 to 2016 and represents a slow evolution in figurative and abstract experimentation.  They are the result of many false starts, hours of work, and occasionally, moments of intense clarity.  Stylistically, I have always tried to strike a balance between painterly abstraction and representational figurative and landscape imagery.  Most of these paintings are based on collages of images that I have collected over the years.  They come from magazines, family photographs, anthropological and wildlife books, etc. etc.  Although I have yet to use a fraction of these images, they were all chosen for a specific aesthetic reaction that I had when I found them.  The collage process is a lot like what I imagine directing a film would be like and I often imagine the people and animals as being a part of a larger narrative.  I usually don’t have a specific narrative in mind while I am collaging them together, but I seem to gravitate towards the same overarching themes: the profoundness of primordial nature, death of moral innocence, and the alienation we face as a culture removed from nature.


I try to begin a painting as loosely as possible focusing on the drips and a sort of compositional intuition.  I find the beginning “accidental” part of the process to be the most exciting part of painting because it often leads me in a direction that I had not initially intended.  It is important to me that the painting show the history of the process and a specific language of mark making.  The drips and large areas of thinned out paint often served to unify the edges of where collaged portions of a reference existed and create a world where all the images can exist together.


Painting itself is a paradox, because it welcomes the viewer to take part in an “unreality”, so it is my hope to create some sort of equilibrium so that the viewer will want to inject the painting with his or her own reality.  In short, I want to avoid being too literal with a narrative so that the viewer gets to be involved in the process.  I use animals in my paintings because they are loaded with connotations.  For example, next to certain animals, a person may be considered a “nude” in the tradition of high art, while juxtaposed with others; a figure would appear naked in every sense of the word. Certain animals may be cast as villains or are given the task of watching over the people in the paintings. I often use children as well because they remind me of stories or folklore that I heard as a child. In essence, I want the people and animals to be having a conversation, and to suggest a wildness that conveys the unknown.


We live in a world that offers very few moments of breathing room for the spirit.  For me, the “occasional void” where I find that breathing room happens when I am painting.  My hope is that this work will convey a space of reflection for the viewer as well.





"Who Jumps First?", "Gluttony and the Geisha", "In Church" (Left to Right)

"Still Life with Coyote Skull" SOLD

"Night Swimming"

601 Kansas City St

Rapid City, SD 57701




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