My paintings are based on old snapshots. Over time, I’ve grappled with most of the subjects that a painter with a bent for description will take on: landscapes, still lifes, portraits. But I feel that I elicit an emotional dimension from the snapshots that I don’t attain from other subjects.
My paintings have been described as “deconstructed nostalgia”. I think that when we contemplate the moments of happiness or solemnity recorded in snapshots we have an emotionally complicated awareness of how irrevocably distant and how fragile those moments are: that complicated awareness is what I’m trying to paint; I’m trying to capture the deeper psychological currents behind the innocent surface images of the photographs.
The atmosphere in my paintings is thick, the tonality dark, the edges and contours not always sharply defined, the faces often blurred or in shadow. These effects arise out of specific techniques, but are also attempts to break down the specificity of the photograph’s subject matter and allow the viewer to project more freely into the painting. The layers and veils of the painted surfaces are the equivalent of the distance between the viewer and the subjects of the old photographs.