My work is about character study. My method develops through the continual pursuit of ways to make color, light, space, and gesture generate dramatic tension, tell stories, and pose provocative questions about the person I’m painting, even when that person is myself. Like Shakespeare’s plays, the best portraits by Rembrandt and Velazquez show us how a painting can simultaneously capture individual character and resonate with significance that transcends the person depicted.
For several years now I have been working with the nude to try and achieve this paradoxical effect in my own way. I never allow my models to be anonymous. I expect them to engage with me emotionally during our sessions together. I try to establish a sense of confidence in the studio, of trust and mutual intimacy, and the paintings I produce of a particular model are imbued with the chemistry peculiar to our interaction. (This chemistry lingers, I find, even when I am working on a particular painting alone in the studio.) Nude bodies gesture more easily than clothed bodies toward the realm of abstract meaning. With the nude, I strive to create studies of individuals that are also vivid meditations on themes such as reflection, transformation, and creativity.