In February I travelled to the Galapagos Islands, 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador.
It is an archipelago of 18 volcanic landforms that straddle the equator and collectively make up a unique and enormously rich nature preserve. It is a self -enclosed world where human presence is mostly a footnote.
Throughout history, much of our interaction with the natural world- animals, birds and insects- have been primarily defined by fear- fear of whether they will hurt us or fear of whether we will hurt them. In the Galapagos, this veil of suspicion is virtually absent. Because the islands have had no major predators for millennia, the "fight or flee" instinct does not prevail. I felt invisible as I walked through nesting grounds, sketched sea lion pups and nearly tripped over piles of marine iguanas.
When I returned to my studio, I began this body of work as a direct, straight-forward response to an extraordinary place. A month and a half later, oil began gushing into the Gulf of Mexico. While painting and thinking about pelicans, turtles and delicate microscopic marine life in the Galapagos, I was haunted by this catastrophic black cloud and it gave these paintings an unexpected dimension.
My work often explores ideas and intuitions I have about the confluence of the natural world and the human enterprise. These thoughts propel me and keep me intellectually connected to current situations. But a painting, first and foremost, is a physical entity- a visual balancing act weighing light with dark, the accidental with the deliberate and specificity with ambiguity. A painting is formed by many things, but in the end, it is paint on panel. I believe that there is something inherent in this balancing act of materials and physical properties that has the potential to address deep and untethered areas of the mind.
west branch gallery & sculpture park • 17 towne farm lane • p.o. box 250 • stowe, vermont • 05672 • 802.253.8943
West Branch Gallery & Sculpture Park is a contemporary art and sculpture space located on the Mountain Road in Stowe, Vermont
Gallery Hours: Tuesday - Sunday, 10 am - 5 pm, and by appointment • firstname.lastname@example.org