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Thoughts on Visual Communication

Artist’s Statement

I have always been taken by images that traverse the spectrum between representation and purely non-objective work—Miró, Guston, Dubuffet, Gorky, Marden.  These were some of the heroes of my youth.  As I tried to make sense of the apparent demise of modernism concurrent with the cacophonous rise of postmodernism, all the while sitting outside formal academic artistic training, I read beyond the monthly art magazines —Michael Fried, Rosalind Krauss, Thomas McEvilley among others.  But the writings that most resonated were those of Henri Bergson , and especially Gianni Vattimo’s in The End of Modernity.

Vattimo’s use of verwindung, building upon Heidegger and others, framed postmodernism as modernism turning back upon itself, an attempt to heal itself of blind spots and excesses.  I was further aided by the conceptual framework built by Habermas in “The Unfinished Project of Modernism” and Diana Coole’s response, Habermas and the Question of Alterity.  The interdependency, indeed symbiosis, of this allowed me to approach, enjoy, evaluate various issues addressed in contemporary art and to find my own place within the immense variety of contemporary visual and conceptual practice.

The revanchist political resurgence of the last several years further sharpens this dialectic relationship, eschewing both modernism (in the sense of it as an outgrowth of the Enlightenment) and postmodernism with its fluidity and heterogeneity.

Bergson’s thinking intersects with my instinctive leanings in two respects:  he shows how  words become a crust that hampers true communication as we try to reach beyond their straightforward pragmatic use. And further, his demonstration of how a conscious being’s  perception of the accumulation of time changes our experience of what may superficially appear to be identically repeated experience.

Add to this strange mix my love for the fluidity, improvisation, and the simultaneously simple, yet complex beauty found in Latin jazz, American mid- and late-century jazz, and genres such as Afrobeat, and you have a rich vein of visual and conceptual problems to explore.

In my practice, the intersection—the collision—of these ideas results in an attempt to capture such improvisation, fluidity and dynamism—a collision that both highlights the beauty of the properties inherent in various media while producing imagery that may appear abstract, yet still pushes the anthropomorphic and biomorphic  quietly into the image.  My practice attempts to create imagery that captures the process of image making without being captured by that process, imagery that recognizes and converses with that which has come before while maintaining openings for new thinking, new feeling, new visual experience.

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