I’ll be showing at Art Xchange in Seattle this March and April 2022 (follow the link to get to the gallery website, see a preview of the show and other goodies). The opening will be on March 3rd, from 5 – 8 p.m. The gallery is following pandemic protocols, with masks and physical distancing. I will be there for the opening. If you don’t make it on the 3rd, I hope you’ll get by to see the show!
Here is my artist statement about this particular body of work:
Make of Yourself a Light
The title for this show is something the historical Buddha told his disciples right before he died. I came across the phrase serendipitously, in a shop one day when I was in particular need of it. Written on the inside lid of a box I opened, it came as something of a shock to my soul. It has been my north star precept ever since, and I have returned to it frequently these past two years.
The word “refuge” is also relevant to this body of work.
Merriam-Webster defines refuge as: “Shelter or protection from danger or distress, something to which one has recourse in difficulty”.
Refuge comes in many forms. I find it in art, nature, dear friends and family, and my beloved animals.
Fundamentally, the work in this show is about paint, because my process is about physically connecting with materials and visually coming to terms with color, texture, and space. This is a given no matter what is going on outside the studio. The patient, contemplative act of resolving an image so that it feels inevitable is a kind of refuge for me. It feeds my purpose and it is a gift that I pass on. When I think of all the artists who have persisted in times of difficulty, creating beauty in the world, I know I am in the best of company.
The images for this series refer to a spring-fed lake that I have hiked around almost weekly throughout the pandemic. It offers everything one could want in a refuge. It is quiet, out of the way, and surrounded by verdant, hilly trails, flanked by giant nurse logs that nourish already large, mossy trees. Few people go there, and my dog can run free. I have experienced many moods and seasons of this lake: brilliant summer days when I wade among the lilies while the dog dives wildly into cool water to fetch sticks, and walking along the shore through the drenching rains of winter, when streams emerge from the hills and feed the cold, dark water. I have observed two complete seasonal cycles there since the pandemic began, witnessing its phases of life as lilies emerge and disappear into those waters, along with the startling calls of the bullfrogs in spring and the ducks that cut through the calm surface with their stippling V-shaped trails.
I needed nature more than ever these past two years. It has kept me whole, and keeps me sane. The certitude of the cycle of life and death that nature mirrors brought me a kind of hope and resilience that was hard to find elsewhere. With gratitude, I brought nature into the studio as my companion, and surrounded myself with it.
This show is dedicated to Michael Spafford. He was a great artist, mentor, and friend. He was a model of what any upright human being could aspire to; generous, compassionate, creative, and kind. Along with many, many people in our community, I mourn his passing and celebrate his life.