I spent much of my childhood riding the Great Plains of central Illinois on horseback or in luxury automobiles of the 1970’s and 80s, passing abandoned farms and towns. This engaged me not only with the grand, magnificent machines that man builds but also with the nature of passing time, change and decay.

Many structures I paint are surrounded by gardens of a misdirected beauty, suggesting man’s infallible desire to control nature. The once luxurious ocean liners, the highly sexualized iron ore uploaders and Battersea power stations are staged in deceptively beautiful gardens or stricken on violent seas. The purity of the clouds and botanicals juxtaposed with the lonely decay of the steel structures create a potent marriage of emotions in the viewer. One has to make the decision whether to attend to the monument of human labor or to the serene beauty enveloping it, just as we all must choose between material consumption and the conservation of the natural systems that sustain us all.

The round paintings recall porcelain collector plates, the kind issued when the great ocean liners where the benchmark of technology, human arrogance and aesthetic attention. Once filled with every luxury, yet finite in resources these ships become a tender metaphor for the earth and her fragility.

In my recent work I have separated many vistas with meticulously painted fences of precious metals, blinking aerial warning lights and stylized jewels. Some recall the era of the 1950s when the nation’s steel mills and production plants were in full glory and operation. I paint rubies to look like chiseled dollops of red wine and clusters of other sparkling gems emit licking flames. Here, a combination of a backfield decay and a foreground of seductive beauty create a potent marriage of emotions in the viewer. The “fencing” off of the distant ruins suggests the complacency of so many to the reality of the aftermath of our sources of technology and luxury.



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