In my neighborhood in Los Angeles there are trees from every continent of the world. I have become fascinated visually by one thing often overlooked about them -curbside trees are trimmed, often radically, by the Department of Transportation to accommodate buildings, commerce, and traffic. I discovered these trees while driving. In visualizing them against a neutralized but smoggy background - I found a subject for a kind of portraiture. I now see Los Angeles differently, especially the insistent dedication of nature to grow in spite of the restrictions placed upon it and the forms that result from this. By removing all context and environment from this subject matter, I invite the viewer to focus and meditate on those forces which have shaped ordinary forms in unseen ways.
Painting has analogous restrictions upon it. There is a finite amount of space within which to make a painting. Over the years painters have found numerous ways to subvert this and other imposed restrictions. What interests me is this contest between limitations in painting and the limitless ability of the art to surpass its restrictions, showing the world as we have never seen it before. A desire for freedom and transcendence is offset by, and in conflict with, the materiality of painting's existence. I see no more fitting metaphor for the comic-tragic quality of our lives.