A lifelong and impulsive desire to gather abandoned things is art the heart of my artistic practice . As a child, I habitually plucked dirt-caked “curiosities” out of the gutters, convinced that I could coax them into divulging the secrets of past lives, thus restoring some mythical status or magical power.
The original trophies gleaned from my suburban archaeological efforts are long gone. That same urge still entices me to hunt through the mundane material residue of modern lives. I am most fascinated by the yellowing family photographs that I harvest haphazardly from rural antique malls and online estate sales, adding them to treasure-trove of abandoned snapshots archived in my Chicago studio. There is a gem-like quality to these scraps, each one paradoxically characterized by a captivating familiarity and persistent, eery silence. I use paint as a vehicle to revive them. The painting process requires intimate scrutiny in search of the fragmentary histories that survive within minute hints. Each canvas is infused with absent memories, and all of the embedded potential that persists between the lines of half-told stories. The photographed scenes are re-invented by the perceptual and tactile interactions that unfold with each painted layer. One by one, they give movement and form to scenes otherwise fossilized on paper. Unlike the documents to which they refer, the paintings derive their power not from authenticity, but from possibility.
The vignettes that intertwine and eclipse one another across the picture plane personify the frustrating impenetrability of the past. Freed from the burdens of authenticity, the ordinary past is transformed into a vernacular mythology . Every piece represents the intersections and contradictions between historic documentation, memory, and nostalgia. As a body of work, these paintings refer to both the tantalizing promise that emanates from lost treasures and the maddening reality that no matter what details survive from the past, they can only ever show us the ghosts of the glories and tragedies which preceded our own.