About

 

I work between the flat schematics of a horizontal picture plane such as a floor-plan or writing and the outward perception of deepspace. The tension between illusion and schema is way of teasing out other kinds of tension: personal vs. cultural, experience vs. idea, subject vs. object, feeling vs. thought, listening vs. agreement, past vs. present etc. I have a need for a connection between things. 

I work from observation, memory and repetition: from the room or whatever is out my window, the remembrance of the space of a walk, and gestures and decisions from past work. Forms are living, they make seeds and grow anew. Lately, I work in series so that a formal idea has time to develop. Each group of work seeks to find a set of loose rules or a logic. What is most important to the final pieces is the relationship between the form and picture — a withholding of a neat gestalt between the two.

Curved lines animate. Straight lines produce depth through layering and by way of diagonals. They can cut through the illusion of a picture and make reference the flat shape of the canvas, linear writing, and strings. Painting from life involves cropping, and conversely, designs and concepts contend with that which is free-floating, the body, perception, and affect.

I have worked in many different ways exploring different avenues, my interest in the intersection between observational painting and abstraction has evolved over a long time and has not always been apparent to me. I worked for a very long time trying to reach some kind of end or conclusion. I failed at this. My practice is more like walking in that it good to get outside and find a good loop. 

Some of my past attempts are more relevant to me than others. In 2016 and 2017 I made many works which I called pattern paintings in which I would photograph watercolors and drawings and then turn them in to black and white computer images. I would print these out and rework them, and then photograph and print them again. In a sense I let myself become very distracted by the common practice of documenting or photographing work. I try very hard to keep myself at a distance from influence of images. Sculptural elements can do a lot to create formal presence. 

The role of repetition in artistic production is complicated by the ease of reproduction through photography. I often destroy paintings and then attempt to remake them. Remaking, or copying old work is consistently a strategy for looking for structure but it is also a critique of technical reproduction. I am no longer working with computer generated images. Currently, my drawing practice involves working quickly with watercolors outdoors — to find patterns through observation rather than in connection with technology — although, of course the influence is unavoidable. 

In 2013 I began working with watercolors and paper. I would make collages. Sometimes the watercolors would start with observational paintings and other times they would start abstractly and move towards grounded depictions of space. This became my way of working with composition — composition is a mater of producing hierarchies inside of a picture — a kind of trailmap with points of interest.

In 2012 I made many paintings of rooms with paintings on the walls, and of oblique shapes that resembled looking at a painting from the side — my concern in painting has been trying to find meaning from it by looking at it sideways, as both an object and a window simultaneously.

In 2021 over a period of 3 month in New Mexico I began to work explicitly between the depth of landscapes and the flatness of grids. I grew up in Northern California and the first paintings that I looked at and thought about were plein air landscapes.  I was trying to find a way to engage with large space in a diagrammatic way.

I currently live and work in Norfolk, Connecticut with my wife Molly Zuckerman-Hartung and dog Moses and teach at MICA in the LeRoy E. Hoffberger school of painting.