Wednesday, April 22, 2009


This is a painting of a skunk which I am tinkering with.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

little paint sketch

Here's a little paint sketch I made this morning.

My Mid-Program Show

Some of these photos are a little wonky, but you get the idea.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


I passed my review! Photos will follow, whenever I get to take them.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


This is my new pet mouse! His name is Klaus.

Friday, April 10, 2009

process book and a finished statement

As part of my review, I had to make a little book about my art process. It was weird compiling a little book about myself.

Here's my finished artist statement:

I am attracted to art which strives to find some kind of absolute truth even as it acknowledges the impossibility of attaining this goal. With this sympathy in mind, I have set out to build my own artistic practice around an analogous contradiction; I want to try to build a living presence out of evident paint. For me, “Living presence” means something which seems to possess its own subjecthood-- something which seems to look back at you. “Evident paint” is paint that never gets lost in illusion. It is always more or less honest about its physicality and unremarkable nature.

These paintings are an exploration of broad existential questions which result from facing these contradictions. They reflect how it feels to live life without the assurance of truth and with a constant sense of the inevitability of death. What is on display, then, is the attempt to come to terms with this meaningless negation through a passionate display of feeling. Like the subjects that I depict, we act and react to meaninglessness with immediate tenderness, violence, and necessity.

I have chosen to depict “natural subjects” -- hybrids of what I actually see outside and the visual languages through which I am conditioned to perceive them. I believe that they manifest specific instances of some of my broader questions and contradictions. I am fascinated by groups of birds or the way that dogs behave in a pack, for example. I anthropomorphize; these creatures seem undeniably alive like I am, barking, chirping, and flailing all over. But they are also always irrational, alien, and existing almost exclusively in the moment. When the precariousness of life is highlighted along with this passionate activity, the disparity between absolute truth and the reality of physical limitation seems especially palpable.

Visual and Technical Explorations
I started this project by developing strategies for depicting natural things that emphasized their temporality. My palette, for example, was conceived as a formal parallel to this temporality: a field of neutrals disrupted by brief flashes of bright, electric colors. But eventually, the ups and downs of the painting process began to determine most of what the image will look like. While I may have rough ideas as to where I want a picture to go, I make progress by trying to respond to the best strokes that are already there; to edit out what is hindering them and to build an environment that is the most suitable. A subject comes into being not through deliberate rendering, but through the subtractive process of painting out the contours around it. This is how the paintings develop their own voices.

Influences and Context within The Field
The visual language of natural history has been extremely helpful as a formal and conceptual parallel. There is a competition in this language between scientific taxonomy and aesthetic appreciation, and because of this neither desires are completely satisfied. I have spent a great deal of time with natural history dioramas and illustrators such as John James Audubon, Charles Wilson, and Carl Linneaus. I have also been attracted to the watercolors and ink paintings characteristic of Japanese Zen Buddhism in the 18th and 19th centuries. What I am attracted to in this work is the emphasis on the living essence of the made object over the depiction of one that is “real”. Kao Ch’i- Pe’i’s set of “hand paintings” on display at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts was especially influential. Other artists whose influence is pronounced in this project include Elizabeth Neel, Katy Moran, Cecily Brown, Luc Tuymans, Walton Ford, and Gerhard Richter.