Many viewers mistake my work for encaustic; it is not. No wax is used. The "encaustic" look is achieved with acrylic gels and mediums.
The main process is collage, along with painting, drawing, and mixed media. Often viewers don't recognize the collage. The process embeds transparent collage elements within the layers of acrylic in a rather seamless manner.
One theme has remained consistent in my work over time: an exploration of space. A window-on-the-world illusion is juxtaposed with a spoil-the-illusion attention to the flat surface of the physical support. How do artists convince viewers to believe the pictorial space they create? How do they thwart that belief? Where and how will viewers fill in and correct the paradoxes in order to continue to believe?
Another theme is the use of symbols and the question of how we create and communicate meaning from them. In my work, expected symbols are juxtaposed with symbols that don't belong. The illusion of landscape space is created by the placement, scale, and relative clarity of expected symbols: horizons, trees, birds, etc. This same illusion is also created by unexpected symbols: letters, numbers, geometric constructions. Can both the expected and the unexpected be accepted by the viewer? Can the viewer suspend disbelief and enter the landscape? Does it become more than a landscape?
These same expected and unexpected symbols also act to spoil the illusion of landscape space when they don't follow according to the rules. Attention is then drawn to the surface and to the reality of the materials. Does the viewer correct these paradoxes? Or flip-flop between the two readings? Enjoy the confusion or feel disturbed by it? Which reality is real? What language is being used to communicate?
Human beings seem to need to find meaning and share meaning with others. We do this through our use of many symbol systems. Art has its own symbols, its own language: line, shape, volume, hue, value, chroma, brushstrokes, texture, pictorial symbols, etc. How do we read this language? How do we make visible the invisible - that elusive inner world of imagination and emotion that we experience and wish to share? All symbol systems - letters, numbers, math, music - create meaning as well as communicate it. My work mixes symbol systems. How does the viewer make meaning from this mix?
Many of my works are very complex and packed with layers of symbols. This is often read as layers of thought, layers of simultaneous experiences mixing and meshing. We live in an age of information overload. How do we structure it? Some of my works have been pared down to the very minimum required to express these ideas. How many symbols are needed to both create and thwart a reading of illusionistic space? How few clues can there be for the viewer to read "landscape", yet have it suggest more than that? Is something of the inner world communicated with these few symbols or these many symbols? Is there more meaning than the obvious facts depicted?
I prefer that my works set questions in motion rather than suggesting static answers.