About the Paintings

When I think of the house I grew up in, the places I’ve visited, or the people I’ve known, I’m not drawing on a unified continuum of experience. Rather these entities exist in my memory as accretions of moments, collaged together and plastered with a label—Home, School, Friend, Work. Whether very general (e.g., “Human”) or quite specific (“Michael”), these concepts live in the mind as an aggregation of snapshots, pasted together in no particular order, the most recent blended with the most distant (and all of the others) to create a representation of whatever the thing, place, person, or idea may be.

My work involves a kind of editing that’s similar to what the brain does in constructing our concepts of the people and things that we remember. I layer many sections over one another, keeping the parts that I like and painting over the less memorable elements, or modifying them so that they fit with my idea of what the whole is (or should be). Just as our brains forget many unremarkable experiences, my paintings contain lots of layers beneath the visible surface, which nevertheless influence their perception in subtle ways.

The difference is that when painting I can choose which moments to preserve. At certain points in the process a painting will assert itself and lobby me to make particular decisions. An important part of my job is to know when to let the work determine its own destiny and when to lay down the law. But in the end I am in charge, and only the moments that I want to remember become part of the lasting story.