When I was commissioned to create a set design for dance at New York Live Arts (Ambient Cowboy), I explored a newly enabled drawing technique to go beyond the traditional limits of drawing. It allowed me to place a live hand-drawn line from a tablet directly in the performance space, projecting it across the entire stage. Live drawings, as opposed to canned or algorithm-based video, merged with dance.
Since then I have been working on various drawing performance projects and similar commissions, including a set of live drawings at the Hood Museum and an evening-length opera piece at the Southern Sonic Festival at the Contemporary Art Center in New Orleans. I was invited to present these works at the conference on New Urbanism “ Intersections: Understanding Urbanism in the Global Age,” at Harvard, which was a chance to widen the dialogue around live-drawing performances. Other commissions, both for the stage and for architectural settings, followed: at the Milton Art Bank and Teater Grob, Copenhagen, Denmark.
Meanwhile, much of my studio work has been serial through multiple panels of the same size that repeat and form a multitude of views of the same, or a similar, thing. Figure studies are at the base of these paintings, and there are shoes and wheels and pulleys, and chairs and dishes—details that interest me when held and handled, as they manage to tell so directly of the human proportion.
What I have been looking for is a directness of brushstrokes, a swiftness of colors, and a reduction, and even absence, of painterly correction, of “coloring-in.” I am looking for a drawing-like approach to painting, for which I changed my work habits, started using many more brushes, sometimes up to two hundred different brushes in a single piece. Each brush has its own mark and weight, and I’ve been finding the forms and volumes through these brush strokes alone, through lateral repetition and through exposed, uncorrected, and layered error.
I’m inspired by hand-writing, graffiti, calligraphy, home-made maps, any direct trace of the human hand. I like to look at chalkboards and sandwich signs placed on the street. Hand-written menus or notes are, by now, an anachronistic form of risk-taking, not a big risk, admittedly, but one that stirs something in me, that makes me stop. The paintings I’m interested in have not so much to do with the world of ideas, instead, I want them to be rich in stuff, in shapes, in textures, and through that, be doggedly story-less.