The Serengeti is a remarkable experience of a life cycle on full display…birth, aging, illness and death. Nothing is hidden for long. Wildlife must continually negotiate the threat of being eaten or dying from not eating. It is a sober reminder of the narrow margin lives are afforded.
Several years ago, I returned to Africa. My destination was Masai Mara, the domain of the annual Great Migration. I wanted to experience this event, where Wildebeest and Zebra risk life and limb in search of regenerated grasslands in numbers seen only there. It is loud, messy, and dangerous with no filter. Half eaten carcasses line the river. It’s a place where hungry wildlife tear up river banks in a desperate attempt to evade hungry crocs and cats. It may appear to be destructive, but no act is wasted. Ultimately, smaller creatures have access to means of survival as well. It’s part of a natural order that benefits fauna and flora…they are part of, and apart from, each other.
Where in earlier works, I explored uncertain and apocalyptic threats to natural harmony, the new paintings celebrate what should be reclaimed, cherished and protected…an Eden past. In my exhibition Equilibrium, I strive to represent a comparable artistic form.
I find myself navigating a taut line between abstraction and representation; one that in a way mirrors, metaphorically, the appearance and disappearance of my chosen subject matter. Hidden in plain sight a herd of zebra blends so that there is no beginning or end. In the high grass, stripes are mistaken for shadow and sunlight. A mass of wildebeest mimics dark blue spheres of rain. At other times, wildlife is subtly revealed; their shapes woven into a web of vegetation, barely distinguishable from their surroundings. All the while, I continue to build on partially invented narratives touching on realism. My former earth toned palette is replaced by a richer more expressive one, dominated by blues, violets, orange-reds and yellow greens.
The joy I experienced firsthand in Africa and then again in the studio can only hint at the degree of passion I feel for my subject matter. My approach to painting continues to evolve. Each painting is an experiment in discovering a form unknown to me. An un-tethered imagination and inspiration make for another artistic adventure.