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My entire adult life as a practicing painter has been spent believing in the persuasive power of painting; more specifically, in how representational painting can transform the activity of direct observation of the live model in real time and space into meaningful , pictorial structure. My observation of the live model, like Vermeer, Chardin, Ingre, Degas is not about a desire to possess, rather a desire to contemplate and evaluate the nature of appearance. I want to experience observation, to bring it close, to examine, interpret, to look ‘for’, not ‘at’. Observation is discriminatory, hence the basis for self knowledge. Nor is my work about verisimilitude of appearance. ‘Likeness’ is a necessary step which occurs in varying degrees and through which representational painting must pass on its way to wherever it is going. It is not the reason for serious representational painting, just a condition of its being.

I agree with the idea that art must be persuasive as art first before it can be so in any other capacity. My painting style is intentionally restrictive with respect to overt contextualization of social and political issues. I consider my work as a principled detachment from introspection and overt narrative. Nothing happens, in a sense, in my paintings. They do not engage narrative expression of emotions. I address my painting as a ‘construct’ in which associative concerns interweave with the formal conventions of picture making. Hence, I place importance on the traditional idea of a painting being an expression of ‘composed thought’. Accordingly, my paintings are both tempered and stimulated by the tradition of representational painting, and the pictorial conventions therein. To deny that tradition is to speak with a very limited vocabulary. Alex Katz, the American figurative painter, told me during a graduate critique many years ago that to do so is to ‘paint in a closet’. I have never forgotten that remark. I believe my painting requires patience, in the making and in the viewing, with regard to how meaning can spring forth from the seemingly simple act of observation. I think Degas said it best when he said: “There is no image less spontaneous than my own.”


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