My work often begins as a visual narrative connected to autobiography. The stories I paint are about immigration, a child’s longing, love, divorce, solitude, my dog, birds, the moon, the sea, life, death. I think of paintings as means to emote, reminisce, look back, as well as project into the future. My paintings are meant to be visual landscapes in which figures appear and disappear. These are stories, embedded, forgotten and revealed, works that hope to haunt and remind, and at times, foresee.
My process involves reading into stains of washes that I apply initially with oil and turpentine in layers. As I have an idea in mind, I look for the shapes of my characters randomly in the mix of transparency. Painting in this way, I am not limited by sketching or reproducing images that have already been created. I have found that as I paint, figures emerge that live their own lives and they begin to tell their own stories, often diverging from what I had originally intended. The paintings eventually become compositions of color and movement. They are painted one over another, sometimes ten or twelve times, so they are literally heavy. When asked to express their meanings or describe them, I rarely discuss form, but rather the stories I represent.
I have relied on narratives, both personal and cultural, as the driving force for my work. Some of the paintings in the exhibition at ARC this spring 2022 are Buddhist narratives which include the letters of Nichiren Daishonin written to his disciples in 13th Century Japan. “Ceremony in the Air” and “Tatsunokuchi” are such paintings. They are my ways of confirming the potential in each human being.
Image: A Visit from the Other Side, Oil on Canvas, 60″ x 72″, 2021