The series One Big Love was set in motion in 2007 but solidified the following year as a response to a New Yorker article (“The Eureka Hunt” by Jonah Lehrer, July 28, 2008), about the nature of insight. In a staged experiment to recreate the conditions in which one could most easily have those eureka moments, I charged myself to paint on panels no larger than 10″ x 13″ (a return to intimacy); to escape the tyranny of the rectangle by painting only on shaped panels; and to listen to music while working (hence the title, One Big Love, a song by Patty Griffin).
In an effort to take self-consciousness out of the studio experience, I drew on the baroque complexity and endless variations that the material could inherently provide, and produced a variety of forms that would bring to mind everything from cellular structures, sea coral and crashing waves, to skin, drapery and Victorian fashion.
Instinctively, my process has continued to address the dialectic between material memory and morphogenesis, allowing the paint to follow its inevitable path of least resistance. Oil paint has its own laws of behavior, and working with it as opposed to in spite of it has produced on lucky days, some surprising results and a kind of wowie zowie feeling in the studio. The shaped panels are conceived of intuitively, but aim for tenderness. A tilt to the left seems to pull the paint upward, while a bulge at the bottom can suggest a thrust from the top. All actions result in reactions.
While my artistic models have ranged from Tuttle, Murray, Price, and Nozkowski, to Guston, Fontana, Burchfield, and VanGogh, the tufa mounds of Cappadocia, the geothermal pools of Yellowstone and the salt flats of Danakil continue to provide an equal amount of inspiration and new thoughts about process.
To date I have completed seventy-nine works in this series.
Originally Published January 17, 2013