While I do have a Master’s of Arts in Theological studies, I have never taken an art class, let alone obtained any kind of official credentials in the form of a Bachelor and/or Master’s in Fine Arts. In painting, as in all other aspects of my life, I think of myself as a perpetual student. I learn through trial, error, experimentation and through furious dialogue with dead painters who’s work continues to speak of their boundless genius.
History and one’s place in it is a central concern of mine. Insofar as Art History is concerned, I am deeply influenced by the earliest, most atavistic art forms found in the caves of Altamira, Chauvet, and Lascaux. Also, perhaps because classical art interacts so closely with my academic background in the religious landscape of late antiquity, Greco-Roman and Levant art remains a critical reference point to me. I am also indebted to the European surrealists, Les Automatistes (especially Jean-Paul Riopelle) and the abstract expressionists that dominated the New York art scene in the 1940s and 50s (most significantly Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko).
Painting as a means of philosophic self-expression, my aims are anchored in a desire to work out theological and philosophical concerns in peace and quiet, away from the mindless consumption and selfish concerns that consume our society.
When it comes to the bulk of my artistic output, the name of my game is ontology or the quest for “The Fulness of Reality”. Some people are materialist in that they perceive reality as matter acting upon matter. Others are idealist in that they perceive reality first and foremost as a sentient idea. I fall in the second category. The universe may very well exist as matter with or without you, but you have to think about it for it to have any kind of meaning.
I view reality as an intricately integrated system. I like to think of my paintings as a window or portal presenting you, the viewer, with various facets of that reality, inviting you to “break on through to the other side.”
We humans seem to process reality on three planes: the physical (or sensual), the cerebral , and the spiritual. To reflect my interest in these three facets of what we externally and internally perceive as ‘real’, I paint in three distinct styles. To wit, I paint landscapes to reflect my interest in the natural world processed by the senses. I paint the inner workings of my mind in an idiosyncratic manner best described as neo-symbolic, where the the reality of ‘body’ battles it out with the reality of ‘spirit’. I paint pure abstraction when I have entered or desire to go to a place of direct cognition of absolute reality and causality. While on the surface of things these are three very different approaches to painting, my desire is that people who look at my art will recognize the body of my work as a holistic, intricately interconnected whole.
Through my artistic endeavor, I am sharing an irrational reality felt most keenly during the creative process. This grand realm is made of a mythical causality of numinous yet fleshy themes that fully transcend moral and scientific relativism. I’m talking here about themes like theodicy (the origin of evil), variants on sacrifice and salvation and defilement and damnation.
“Art” states Bergson, “brings us into our own presence”, while St-Theresa said:
I require only that you look.