I grew up on a dairy farm in northern Wisconsin, helping my family feed about 50 cows. I started my undergraduate degree at UW-Madison, and finished at SUNY-Potsdam, in upstate New York, with a BFA in Fine Arts. I lived in New York City and its environs for about 20 years.
My subject is people, represented realistically in an abstract urban space, as seen from an imaginary aerial point of view. When I lived in New York City, I worked in office buildings, thinking about how to orient myself. From the aerial point of view, to me, the Manhattan landscape became literally a map of itself. The urban space flattened visually into a kind of "found" painting. Being a native Midwesterner, I translated my sense of the flatness of the Midwestern landscape into a solution of how to paint the verticality of the urban landscape.
I refer to Impressionist cityscapes, Bauhaus photography, New York School Abstraction and Minimalism as some important influences.
I use photographs as a way to reconstruct images from the real world and transfer them to the painting. For me, photography functions as a catalyst, as in a chemical reaction; photographs are instrumental to making the painting, but they do not appear in the completed work.
To me, the urban pedestrian symbolizes a complex social milieu. I paint each figure as a detailed individual portrait, familiar yet anonymous. I construct the crowd from thousands of photographs, arranged randomly to suggest patterns, and in patterns that suggest randomness.
Imagery from the aerial point of view is instantly recognizable, even though we rarely directly experience it. The aerial view makes it possible to imply the entire infrastructure of the city: cars, building, streets, etc., without actually depicting any of those things.
The aerial view compresses the view. The spatial flattening of the images intensifies the surface of the painting, and enhances the colors in a unique way. The compressed space is a map, a kind of living map, which shows a way of seeing, and a way of being in the world.