The Artist's Voice

I grew up on The Palisades, overlooking the Hudson River, and water was something that I was always drawn to. Entering the water, even then, time was suspended and all things seemed possible.

For many years I painted figures on dry land, concentrating on the formal aspects of the visual world, always trying to find a way to activate the figure/ground relationship in a more open-ended way. When I began using water as a component in my paintings, I could feel the tug of it, like an undertow. I had no idea, at the start, the extent to which it would continue to grip me.

The painted pool series combines figurative subjects and abstract elements that fortify the underlying structure. The figures are vehicles for experiencing movement between forms and the action between those forms in space. They appear to me like dancers on a stage, whose gestures are firm yet fleeting, simultaneously. The experience of painting them is like trying to hold onto mercury.

There is something very compelling about the human form in combination with the capacity of water to refract and bend light. The water has given me the latitude to magnify, explode, and dissolve the forms immersed. It has also provided the opportunity to observe and extend various kinds of patterns as they are repeated and distorted in fluctuating ways, and to address alternating concerns about continuity, disjuncture, and harmony in visual terms, as well as those of the human experience.

Paint viscosity has always been of primary interest to me. It is the visceral nature of things that I am after. Thicker areas of paint, built up and laid down next to more transparent passages, give the work breath and energy. When I work I am always reminded that a painting has a life of its own. I aim for spontaneity in the process, trying to intuitively sense when it's time to step back and leave it alone. The feeling is like turning a new corner on the way to an unknown destination, and the ride is the thing that is of interest.

Water heightens my impulse to reach beyond what is easily grasped and pushes me towards something more elusive.


Shemesh, Lorraine, "The Artist's Voice."
Bulletin - National Academy Museum and School of Fine Arts. Vol 26, Number 1, (Spring 2008): illus., 11.