Posed photographs of groups of people’families, classmates, workers, and friends’have been the major source of images for my paintings for some time.
Past the purely visual, the pictures have a tremendous emotional content. People sit or stand, usually tensed, concentrating on projecting the best of themselves. They look straight out at you. My photos are from as far back as the youth of my great-great grandparents, and from as far away as the former Soviet Union. They are cherished keepsakes of my family and discarded memories found at yard sales, flea markets, and in abandoned homes. No matter from what generation or country, be they of ancestors, strangers, or friends, the pictures describe the same complex relationships, the same sense of pride.
I am an avid admirer of the American artists Romare Bearden, Jim Dine, Alex Katz, Fairfield Porter, and Milton Avery. I strive through my own paintings to capture what is, in my opinion, so special about theirs…the sublime balance between the emotionality of the subject and the abstract nature of their surface, color, line, and brushwork.
Recently, my works have been focused mainly on images of the South. Having been born in Michigan and coming to the small town South as a young child, I developed a fascination with its history perhaps natural to a ‘transplanted Yankee”. The photos I have discovered of early life in North and South Carolina, Georgia, Virginia, Louisiana, and their other neighbor states all contain the same quality that never fails to touch me”¦the triumph of strength over adversity.