Up to Our Necks, Oil on Panel, 6×6 inches
From Now On, Oil on Panel, 13×13 inches
Losing It, Oil on Panel, 16×20 inches
Two years ago, I contsructed a 1:87 scale model neighborhood, a fictitious cluster of eleven houses depicted through model railroading miniatures, styrofoam, cardboard, and plastic, complete with string telephone wires and working lights. The process of designing and assembling the setting over several months triggered my imagination to develop characters to populate the place along with a loose timeline of events that would culminate in the neighborhood’s history. I considered who lived in each home, their family dramas, and the way their private lives might spill into view of their neighbors. The model became a stage on which to develop the psychological implications of belonging to a particular family, with all of its dramas, struggles and familiar routines. I thought: this tree will be taken down after an old man crashes into it; a father will transform this lawn into an ice skating rink; this house will be abandoned after its residents are scandalized on the evening news.
The paintings are glimpses of a scene or fragments of a narrative. Some of the images are conceived of sequentially. While the images don’t necessarily need to be “read” in order, I am interested in storytelling over time through repeated depictions of the same house or car or person, seasonal changes, and shifting vantage points. Like the disturbing difficulty of trying to put rolls of film in order several years after the pictures have been taken, I hope the collective images suggest a known past that is just beyond reach. I intend for the tiny scale to enhance an urge for more information. Similar to a memory, they are fictional constructions of significant moments and distillations of experience. One of my challenges is to invite the viewer to form his or her own connection and narrative so that he may empathize with the occupants’ seemingly mundane existence.
Working with common themes such as transition, aging, isolation, and loss, I am interested in the fragility of relationships and the awkwardness of a group of people trying to coexist and relate to one another. As I transitioned my model into winter, snowbanks of increasing depth seemed to fortify a sense of isolation and quietness. The paintings portray both the magical and suffocating potential of snow, the wonder at its stark beauty and the hopelessness that spring might never come.