TOWARDS AN ARTIST STATEMENT
“I said, A line will take us hours maybe;
Yet if it does not seem a moment’s thought,
Our stitching and unstitching has been naught.”
-William Butler Yeats, “Adam’s Curse”
A Zen monk may sit in meditation for hours, and then all at once, in a single stroke, he paints a circle, called an enso, and so transmits his understanding, his very state of Being.
As a contemporary artist I dance between these two poles, striving to create the artifice of immediacy, urgency, but with surfaces built up and broken down often over the course of years, or even decades. So the painting feels like it “just happened,” is happening now, yet the surface reveals layers of history, construction, destruction, repetition. It is like meeting a person- when you look at their face you see them as they are now, but they carry with them their whole history. This brings continued interest and rewards long looking. I love paintings which are as engaging when viewed from 60 feet as from 6 inches, and offer the viewer an ongoing freshness and a sense of surprise and revelation.
In the long history of humanity, there has always been a kind of art that had a function which separated it from everything else. I believe in art that is ABOUT something, that signifies something, that has a sacred function which distinguishes it from the dross of everyday life and serves as a bridge to the present moment and a deeper experience of oneself. I want meaning. Whether representational, referential or abstract, great work is not merely about depiction, but transmission and transformation.
A popular theme in contemporary physics is the search for a Theory of Everything. And while “the” theory of everything remains elusive and is ultimately unreachable, I try to bring my passions and presence, as well as my history and education to bear on the paintings I make. Art history, spirituality, nature, philosophy, metaphysics, physics, mathematics, literature, lyrics, language, poems, cultural references, equations, all of the many things that interest me- I try to unite them all in an tempt to create and share my own Theory of Everything. In so doing I hope for a direct transmission, not about content but about a state of Being, from my mind to the mind of the viewer.
I was born in New York in an era during which women were convinced it is better to feed their children formula than the milk produced in their breasts. I grew up eating vegetables that came out of cans and lived in a house where the television was always on.
Growing up in NYC as a kid I frequently went to the great museums and would stand transfixed in front of the bold and magnificent painters of the Abstract Expressionist era. Little did I imagine I would wind up spending the better part of my life making paintings.
At an early age I discovered the wonders of mind expanding drugs and at 15 I ran away from home for 2 years. Although a Jew, in my teenage wanderings I became what we then called a Jesus freak, and went back home to save my parents. It didn’t work. But it marked a milestone in a life long spiritual search which has involved numerous teachings and taken many turns.
I was fascinated with art, poetry, literature, philosophy, language and spirituality. I graduated from college Summa Cum Laude, though I was not above occasionally dancing naked on the bar.
I lived in Italy for a year and made a deep study of art history and wonderful bevarges.
In the 80’s I moved to San Francisco. Although I was on track for a life in academia as a poet, at some point I decided to become a doctor, and had a private practice which one day I literally walked away from in order to pursue a career as a painter.
I had my first one man show in 1997. I’ve had many shows since in galleries around the country, regional museums, and alternative spaces.