Though my subject matter varies, I consistently merge contrasting ideas in my work. In my cattle paintings, sections of herds are seen packed in the small confines of the canvas. Through the careful layering of the animals across the space and the repetition of the soft, curving forms of their heads and horns, I create structure from an otherwise disorganized group. Capturing the movement and energy of a herd, I explore the opposing ideas of order and chaos and the individual and the mass.
My series of minimalist landscapes entitled Studies in Silence examines the notions of mood and memory, serenity and mystery. These landscapes are combinations and evocations of places I have been, yet nowhere in particular. The landscapes’ deep, rich color palettes may imbue one viewer with a sense of peace and calm, as if viewing a restful retreat. To another, however, the silence and absence may feel haunting, and what is unknown or unseen may seem unsettling. It is this mystery of individual response that interests me as each viewer brings their own experiences and memories to the work.
The cowboy paintings are a synthesis of the cattle and the landscapes. The cowboy, the great American icon, brings to mind action, wildness, and adventure. However, my cowboys are often alone, caught in quiet and contemplative moments.
On a trip to Cuba in 2004, I was struck by a country full of contrasts. Brightly painted colonial houses and buildings, loud, lively Cuban music, shining beaches, sun-filled courtyards, and exotic countryside all exist among poverty, Marxist propaganda, deteriorating architecture, and streets filled with military forces. To capture the contrasts of Cuba, I set vibrant colors against muted tones to portray the drab, crumbling Cuban buildings from which blocks of color break out underneath layers of paint. These abstractions of flaking paint also represent the country’s fractured history, while the bright colors express the island’s rich cultural heritage. The portraits convey another contradiction of Cuba. Despite the daily hardship and struggle that marks post-Revolution Cuban life, a joyful exuberance and resilience defines the Cuban peoples’ spirit.