I find the expressive power of geometric shapes compelling. Across time and place, we have used these simple forms to assert our most profound beliefs—about the nature of our everyday world and what may lie beyond, about our personal, social and spiritual identities, and about the rhythms and cycles of our lives. I was drawn to these forms—to the geometric markings that our early ancestors made on rocks, cave walls, and their bodies and to the geometric patterns found in nature from microcosm to macrocosm—long before I came to admire the use of geometric form in modern art.
Even in my earliest figurative work, I incorporated geometric shapes, particularly in the form of pattern. From 2000-2012, I worked on a series of paintings based on an underlying grid of small, same-sized squares. Because all the shapes and intervals are based on this grid, they are proportionally—and thus harmoniously— related to one another. Further, although the grid largely disappears in the finished paintings, its clear organization of space brings further harmony and coherence to the work.
These grid-based paintings are based on shapes—squares and rectangles—whose hallmarks are symmetry and stability. Yet I have always used contrasts of color, shape and size to develop varying degrees of asymmetry and visual tension. Such tensions recall fundamental oppositions of our daily experience: open/closed, light/heavy, together/apart, expanding/contracting, rising/falling, static/active, loud/quiet. These felt oppositions are rich in associative power and are meant to give these abstract paintings emotional resonance.
Recently, I have incorporated diagonal lines and shapes into my work. These diagonals greatly heighten the energy and tension among the colors and forms. Diagonals also enhance the feeling of depth in my work, allowing me to play implied space against flatness and to create spatial ambiguity. In my previous work, asymmetries were small and gentle, whereas in my current work, I strive for highly asymmetrical balance, and often feel like I’m dancing on an imagined dividing line between order and disorder. I find this level of risk-taking in maintaining compositional coherence both challenging and exciting.
I develop visual ideas on the computer so that I can freely explore color and composition with great efficiency. The evolution of a finished idea may involve hundreds of modifications large and small. The computer facilitates both wide-ranging and highly refined experimentation. It helps me challenge my visual habits and preferences and explore unfamiliar terrain.