Themes recurring in my work include natural and man-made disasters, catastrophe, and change. I am currently making making landscapes on paper inspired by Chinese scroll paintings, using not the traditional ink and brush, but charcoal and oil paint. Rather than the idealized landscapes of the original scrolls, I am interested in the changes (both subtle and not so subtle) effected by climate, human intervention, and the passage of time. I have developed a reductive technique using oil on gessoed paper to create a smooth surface.
There is a temporal component to the work and a sense of movement as it depicts a passage through the physical space. The horizontal format means the entire view is not easily seen from a single viewpoint, requiring the eye to travel across the image. The mostly black and white palette evokes the memory and nostalgia of vintage photographs, while small touches of vermillion echo the bright red seals on the scroll paintings. Using the red seal on a monochrome scroll painting is said to be “adding the eye to the dragon.” The works express the distinction between memory and experience, as some are made from direct observation on site, and some are produced back in the studio, when the experience becomes just a memory.