I paint pictures of nothing.
What I mean is, I paint pictures of no “thing.” My affective abstractions do not contain a material subject, but rather present a broader mood or attitude drawing inspiration from the space between our individual and collective relationships. Through my artwork, I aim to capture a sense of optimistic bewilderment that reflects a way of being in today's precarious and postnormal world.
Within improvised compositions of hastily applied acrylic paint, pastel, graphite, and other media, I deploy whatever marks and shapes present themselves in the moment. Some marks are gestural, others are geometric-ish, some bunch up, others unfurl. It’s possible to see the bones of shapes, awkward grids, loose trusses and bouncy blobs swirling within a palette of antidepressant colors. These entangled layers create a density of marks that won't sit still, requiring a continuous process of growing, grooming, and pruning. The layering of these disparate shapes and marks creates a complexity that must be engaged without deleting or starting over. What I'm looking for is a beauty that emerges from within the confusion and uncertainty.
As I consider the ever-changing makeup of our individual and collective relationships, my non-representational paintings endeavor to create a visual language describing their intangible, pre-linguistic, and non-conscious nature. I strive to capture something called "affect," which is an invisible and ever-present force existing in the relational space between humans and non-humans alike, even across great distances. This "in-betweenness" shapes our individual and collective experiences in ways that are often outside of conscious awareness. I view these relationships as a social ecology where I seek to present (not re-present) the aesthetic interdependencies that ebb and flow. Our relationships continuously change and grow and die and regenerate between people, groups, technologies and institutions. They are part of a never-ending, circulating process where we all affect and are affected by one another.
My improvisational painting practice allows me to tap into the non-conscious, affective undercurrent that permeates our hyper-individualized, neoliberal society and translate it into a visual experience. Using movement as thought, my process capitalizes on an embodied and enactive way of thinking-as-doing where the latent mind-is-body reaches out into its environment. In this undisclosed space lies a productive tension between my ignorance and knowledge, helping me to push beyond habitual ways of thinking and explore new possibilities.
I refer to my work as Affective Abstraction (AfAb), a name I created to describe its reliance on connecting to emergent moods and attitudes that lie outside conscious awareness, drawing inspiration from the shared space between individuals and between masses. This affective in-betweenness, accessed through the process of improvisation, is then channeled onto the canvas which has a capacity to hold space for the past, take action in the present and move toward a postcontemporary moment of possibility. In a world that is frenzied and bewildering—where we feel under duress dealing with everything, everywhere, all at once, all the time—the pursuit of beauty in uncertainty can provide solace and connection as we navigate our ever-changing relationship with ourselves, others, and the more-than-human world we all share.