Destination Road Series
Works on Paper | Statement
This work became homage to the landscape and a reflection on pilgrimage.
California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. I end up loving the names of the states and the landscape that defines the names so distinctly. I am open as this road, floating at an easy 60 mph. The truck like a silver insect humming its way across the Southwest. Vast and empty, nearing our destination, the West Texas landscape becomes the Texas character for me. I fall for it, taking in details and suspending criticism. Nature becomes reality. The awesome beauty of the landscape couples with a singular harshness. It stuns you into submission. We stop, step out to take a break, and a large black tarantula ambles over the stubbly dry ground. About 60 miles out of Marfa, 11 miles down a dirt road, is one of Donald Judd’s ranches. As we bounce over the dry earth we are no longer observing the horizon at a distance, we are there and in we go, right into the heart of the landscape. A while later, marked by an orange flag (easy to miss) is our left turn into the ranch. The tiny house demands my full attention. It is perfect, seemingly unchanged, just the barest of essentials. Preconceptions fall away fast. The Ranch’s manifest simplicity proposes a challenge to the very nature of the way I paint.
When I get home, back into the studio, I realize each state we crossed has a clear character in my memory. Recalled like a face with timeworn experience. I start to paint these landscapes working fast, trying to retrace each step. They have triggered a nerve, jump-started an awareness of time, space and something else; something to be worked out in the process of painting. I am looking for a quality that describes a sense of place present and past at the same time, and I am drawn to the colors of old photographs. Something about the photographic quality speaks to a documented time and moment, and sets up a tension between the real and the imagined, memory and paint.