The majority of my current work uses abandoned found material, often corrugated boxes and commercial packaging, as a substrate to paint on. The irregularity of the edges and surfaces that have already been marked by use, becomes an essential aspect of the piece. A second part of my process is to cut the tops off of shopping bags, fold them, and use them as stencils to create shapes and layers that form a vocabulary that is mine. I am determined to go as far as I can go with these seemingly simple decisions in order to see what’s there if I stay with it long enough.
In Field Work, the longest series, I gather and flatten the corrugated boxes restaurant vegetables and fruit are transported in as substrates for paintings. Past Times use the tops of shopping bags folded and sometimes glued together, then prepared for work in pastels. The Flat and Folded pieces are small boxes flattened and glued together in bundles and then painted. In the Rabbits series, I paint a simplified, linear symbol of a rabbit onto found materials, turn it upside down, and use it as the starting off point for paintings, with the rabbit giving the painting a linear element that appears and disappears. An earlier series, the Backs, uses discarded frame backing with metal hardware as a basis for paintings. And a recent project is the Small Book of Box Drawings series, which are drawings that I make while waiting for something to start, or while watching MSNBC in the evening. The drawings are symbols I look for on the corrugated material I gather to work on. I see flat shapes that must have meaning to the people handling the cartons, but for me, since I don’t have that knowledge, they are free of meaning and are a good basis for a continuing series of small drawings.
All of these practices, used together or individually, are done in a systematic, one step after another process that I have developed in order to move closer to what this iconography signifies on a visual level and how I can bring it into my work. The thrilling aspect of abstract painting, where the painter is creating tangible, painted forms that are new, not related to or based on reality, become, for me in my current practice, the actual object that I make pictures of. It’s a sort of reverse engineering, an action that is both creation and deciphering. I try hard to not resist following the steps I’ve set up as workable, to not judge or force something to happen.
Materials include Flashe, casein, gouache, acrylic, spray paint, pastel, pencil, oil stick, crayon, and grit on corrugate or commercial packaging.