Fieldwork and direct engagement with environmental space are important to my visual practice. My recent work has involved taking large, unstretched canvas outdoors, and making paintings and drawings on site in single sessions. I park on the side of a road, walk into, across, and around the site. Then, I return with the rolled-up canvas and a bag of materials. The walk is short enough to manage the unwieldy materials, and long enough to begin to learn the gestalt of my chosen location that often involves a visible record or trace of the human: perhaps a quarry or a former battlefield.
I begin with a graphite stick, standing on the canvas, mapping contours and fissures, aware that often the geometry (or grid) is a result of human history. The large size of the canvas prohibits me from composing space in a methodical way. A relationship develops between open-ended depiction and my own physicality in the space. I make these paintings on the ground, wrestling with the image I produce in the presence of an immediate materiality. In my studio, I make small paintings from observation, or paint fragments of the figure, or work from memory. These smaller paintings are moments of singular clarity or isolation from the larger systems, functioning as fragments, footnotes, or archives.
This idea of malleability with respect to physicality and meaning become a way of considering the longstanding relationship of image to language. A rock can mean one thing in one context and quite another somewhere else--or, in other words, its use value and/or signification can change. Words of course can do the same thing. What does ground mean, what does weight mean, how can these words and ideas be taken literally, how does their use in metaphor help me understand the ways in which the construction and learning of language connects to the representation of visual experience? Rocks assembled into a wall create a barrier, perhaps a denial of the horizon line, once so elemental to the genre of landscape images. As words shift through metaphor and indexicality, so, too, do images and the objects they contain.