The paintings in this exhibit were executed during a fifteen year period, from 1991 through 2006. They are sandwiched by a single painting, The Little House, which was begun in 1991 but not completed until 2006. That painting is intended as a tribute to Virginia Lee Burton, whose classic childrens stories of the 1940s ( The Little House, Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel, Choo Choo, Maybelle the Cable Car, The Song of Robin Hood), written in the context of World War II, are still in print today, and capture the hopeful vision of a world that regenerates life even when life seems used up and about to be discarded.
I see her drawings and stories as “mythic landscapes”, and mythic landscape is a theme that I often visit as a painter - whether external landscape involving sky, trees, rocks, and water; or internal landscape involving the interplay of tectonic, “under the surface” forces. For me, landscapes are both literal and imaginary vistas, and involve the interplay of physical forces ( light, weather, geologic events), images from both the natural and the man-made world, concepts, and symbols. There is never just the landscape itself, but always the complex inter-weaving of external images with images from the inner world of dreams and fantasy. Some landscapes are more nearly literal, some more conceptual or symbolic. Mythic landscapes somehow capture and epitomize frozen moments of a multi-layered and ever-changing inner scenery.
Sometimes, events in the world create mythic landscapes that go beyond even the worst of dreams. Since September 11th, I have found that cities in varying states of fragmentation or collapse, but also of regeneration and rejoicing, keep appearing in my art, often merged with dream images of human and animal souls. Since March of 2003, I have often found myself besieged by images of war, and with the enormous, and perhaps hopeless challenge of finding some sense of being “at peace” with a war that strikes me as morally wrong, and instigated by members of my own generation. Several of the paintings in this exhibit are part of a series of paintings about the war in Iraq, and Moment of Impact is a tryptich painted on and immediately after September 11th.