Surface - A Collection

In looking to landscape (rural and urban) for inspiration I zoom in on insignificant sections of surface that jump out at me as I go about my daily life - the markings on the roads and sidewalks in the city and the rock in rural areas. Having worked for years as a weaver and retailer in the textile business the immediate attraction for me is the abstract pattern and texture of everything around me.

To compose my paintings I isolate small sections of rock or roadway, cropped from and without reference to the larger landscape. Closing in on the abstract aspect of pattern and texture takes the focus away from the narrative of the subject matter to stress the intangible and universal force of the natural elements and human interaction with the environment. What comes to the surface is evidence of the history of that place and how it connects to the bigger landscape - a contradiction of permanence and change -weathered layers built up, eroded, broken, repaired, new formations. I find my daily routine happily interrupted by clues, marks of other lives and the overall systems of growth and decay and human intrusion.

Until recently these blown-up details have become single images in which the surface has been built up, with paint, sand, etc., scraped, polished, repainted in an ongoing process imitating how the actual surface might have reached its present state after years of use and erosion, always changing yet always there, tactile and permanent.

In my most recent paintings I have combined these details, imposed an order on my collection of images. These composite, quilt-like paintings are inspired by my interest in African Kuba cloths on which are applied motifs representing an interpretation of the tribe’s physical surroundings. The cloths, made up of small panels sewn together, are wrapped around the body as ceremonial dance skirts. New appliques were added as patches to mend worn out areas.

I feel the need to go beyond the single image. All these disconnected croppings come to my attention, make me take notice, and I want to nail them down, then see how the puzzle pieces fit together, to figure out how the small and personal fit into the bigger picture. I’m organizing everything that comes at me, my day-to-day discoveries -unpredictable, always new, always changing and shifting and still the same.