I live by the Hudson River. At night the trains sound plaintiff and lonely as you hear the echo of their engines making their way up and down the Hudson, headlights illuminating the way to some unknown destination. While the trains, the birds, the wind, and the animals in my paintings may not seem to belong in the same image, they coexist with each other as elements in a larger emotional landscape. Some of my paintings have my house in them. I suppose the house, which looks much like something a little kid would draw, is a sort of self portrait.
Growing up with a half Asian heritage meant that I was equally exposed to looking at Chinese Art and Western Art, and you can see influences and incongruencies of both in my work. The hope of the artist in any tradition - and the dilemma as well - is to engage an audience in a way that makes them active participants in the work, and not just passive viewers. In Chinese painting the vast expanses of “empty” space are not voids but invitations for the audience to fill in the rest with whatever feelings they bring into the room with them. In Western art to make a flat image appear three dimensional painters use perspective, light, shadow, color, gesture, the glance of an eye, the turn of a head, to draw- literally- a person into the world of the artist.
The Lincoln series came about because, as a portrait painter, I wanted to convey the feelings from the photographs that capture the greatness and the weariness of the man, without actually copying the images. The birds, the steam trains, and the colors are meant as a sort of Greek chorus that help to make his inner life apparent. I’ve combined aspects of my main visual practices; the disciplines of film, painting, and photography, into my paintings.
The six- sided paintings are flat but give the perspectival illusion of a box with depth. Drawing this kind of box is a technique used in storyboarding to notate a camera move and the depth and the shape of that movement. It is an optical illusion of depth that further enhances the presence of the subject of the work by bringing it out into the world of the viewer. The austerity of the images encourage self reflection, as shared in the works of both the Chinese Taoists, and the American writer Thoreau who said; “in wildness is the preservation of the world.”