ARTIST  STATEMENT 2004

I am reminded of Paul Valery's warning that one must be careful to speak of paintings--especially when I write of my own work. There is indeed a necessary but ultimately discomforting futility attached to such exercises as the artist statement. This willingness to accept the limits of discourse with respect to the experience of looking may be one of the identifying characteristics of my new work; a quality that clearly separates it from previous, more didactic and self-consciously engaged undertakings. The new series of paintings come out of a willingness--at least in some measure--to accept a degree of ambiguity, a kind of intimacy or shared contract with a viewer that reveals itself over time. Yet many of the issues that I have wrestled with remain-- though perhaps now with less certainty.

My recent studio work is an extension of a project that has occupied me for the half-dozen years: the construction of a series of paintings (and by extension a painting practice) that is in a critical dialogue with the historical conventions (languages) of abstraction. Though a contemporary reading of the work may suggest a kind of knowing contingency to historical models of self-expression and artistic autonomy, it is my hope that the new work appears slightly more slippery and perhaps less fixed to any certain interpretative or critical position. Yet throughout, the central issue of my painting remains intact: how does one make abstract paintings that appear knowing, without succumbing to easy cynicism, or visually enticing without collapsing into feigned sentiment. I suppose I want my works to speak awkwardly, to expose both their contingency to the values in which they are so inevitably immersed, without ever viewing the project as an endgame.