Artist Statement

To what extent does the surrounding environment shape the appearance, culture and values of the person or people within it? Or is human activity changing its environment to the point that it becomes an extension of the demands of the people who live there? Is human presence altering its environment or is the environment shaping the physical and cultural qualities of its inhabitants?

Andrew Wyeth expressed that in his portraits, the landscape surrounding the subject was as much the portrait as the persons face.  Having lived in communities ranging from a tiny Texas town with a population of less than 400 to many years in New York City, I found that each of these settings had a dramatically different impact on my physical and emotional state, my sense of self worth and my connection to the people around me. Urban neighborhoods, rural townships, cities advanced with technology, villages where technology is lacking, what is the visual narrative of the relationship of the figure and the environment?

Traditionally in representational art, the human figure is often the focal point of a composition, the background or surrounding elements defer in a sort of supporting role that's meant to elevate the figures presence.  Typically, the objects that hold the most importance in a painting are brought forward in the composition by softening the surrounding areas either texturally or tonally.  However, in my paintings, I want the viewer to sense a degree of competition between foreground and background, between the figure and the environment.  By allowing this tension to exist in the painting, the viewer is invited to consider the impact of the relationship between the two.  Painting in a very detailed, photo-realistic style heightens the sense of visual and emotional tension.