I am one of the founders of the Mid America Print Council, a group dedicated to fostering the best in printmaking via conferences, exhibitions, research, and a journal.
I am engaged in the studio practice of printmaking, and my studio practice is my research. In addition to developing a large number of coherent visual statements, I use very specialized equipment and technologies, ranging from ancient techniques, materials, and presses to up-to-the-minute computing and digital printers. My mastery of the various technologies is significant. I have a wide range of expertise in print media including relief, intaglio, lithography, silkscreen, and digital. I use a particular print medium as a method to express marks, colors, quality of line and shape, much as a painter would use brush marks, color of paint, or texture as methods to express an important idea.
Over the past 30 years I have produced prints, drawings, watercolor paintings, and oil paintings and all support the ever-evolving set of ideas I have. My work is centered around larger themes that I develop as a result of a particular program of reading, including literature, social studies, and scientific materials; exposure to film or music; experiencing cultural events and locations; or even travel and conversations.
My recent work has involved several long-term significant projects: The Life In Physics, The Library is on Fire, and Embedded. These projects are worked on currently and simultaneously, and parts of each project have been exhibited nationally and internationally as they each develop. The Life In Physics is a response to the developments in physics since the turn of the 20th century and the consequent shift in our understanding of the workings of the world. This group of images is also a response to the difficulty the layperson has in understanding the new physics. Unlike the straightforward Newtonian paradigm, the new physics defies normal intuition: the sixth dimension, for instance, is accessible only through mathematics. Yet the new physics still describes the universe in which we live. The work was developed as large-scale inkjet prints, and as relief and photolithographic prints.
The Library is on Fire is dedicated to the theme of the fragility of our cultural heritage. Human beings are unique in the world in storing much of their most important knowledge outside of their bodies. We have created libraries, museums, historic sites and archives to serve as repositories of our collective history and memories. The imposing architectural setting and elaborate institutional structures created to manage, preserve, exhibit, and disseminate cultural history convey an impression of solidity, permanence and security. Yet we live in a world that often reminds us of the fragile and ephemeral nature of our heritage and of our own accomplishments. Through intentional destruction or natural disaster, what we need to preserve most is often most vulnerable. The emergence of new digital forms of cultural production and communication does not alter this fundamental situation. A silicon wafer can be lost to history, either intentionally or inexplicably, as surely as an illuminated vellum text.
Transformation by fire is represented in many cultural paradigms and can be understood as a positive cultural force. In my project, however, the metaphor of consuming fire represents irretrievable loss, the loss of possibilities as well as knowledge. The library is an easily understood icon of a culture’s repository of intellectual and practical treasure and the idea of its destruction by fire violates us all. This project is being developed as photogravure/inkjet prints, drawings, and paintings.
In Embedded I begin by creating a painting, drawing, or etching portrait of someone I know. I do this in a representational manner and it is a separate work as well as being used in this larger project. I photograph or scan the painting or drawing, then inject it digitally into a reproduction of someone else’s work. Being in dialogue with other artists from the past and their work is very important to this project. I intend to create awareness of the entanglement of our remembered cultural past and the present. By integrating familiar symbols, or the artwork of a familiar artist with the portrait of someone from the 21st century, I hope to make visible an invisible cultural structure: the influence of past traditions on our present. The revelation of this structure is intended to create a visual framework for our fractured, multi-layered present and for the contemplation of the ambiguous natures of originality, clarity of vision, and objective interpretation. These images are developed only as prints and are made into photogravures, intaglio impressed onto inkjet prints, or as inkjet prints.
Finally, I have been making portraits since 1982. In Embedded I have used the portraits that I develop in a next iteration. A long-standing project, it is important to mention because it is a project that I plan to continue to develop. In fact, I know that I will continue it until the very end of my career.
Since 1978 I have exhibited my work, beginning nationally and now internationally. Dialogues with the communities of printmakers and artists are an important part of my engagement with my discipline. In the past I have had solo exhibitions, these have all been exhibitions of a variety of media but not primarily prints. With my printwork, I nearly always exhibit in groups. Since 1996 I have had eleven solo exhibitions, have been invited to 70 or so group exhibitions, and have entered and been accepted into a few competitions. I have shown all over the United States and in a number of other countries including places in Europe, Africa, South America, and Taiwan.