In my work, I wrestle with our present day relationship to place. For many of us, this relationship is now marked with only a surface level understanding of where we live. As individuals, we did not choose to feel removed from the places we live, but collectively we chose values that alienated many of us from our homes and left us un-rooted, isolated and guarded. A deep understanding of local community generates ownership and respect for its land and its people and equips us with the know-how to care for it properly. Questions such as, What does it mean to understand a place?, What does it mean to take the time to understand a place?, What systems do we have to oppose to gain a deep understanding of a place? What options are available for maintaining beautiful places and growing enough food as we race against the clock? drives my work and owe themselves in large part to Wendell Berry’s essay The Work of Local Culture in his book What Are People For?. Berry states, “The only effective 'Operator’s Manual for Spaceship Earth' is not a book that any human will ever write, it is hundreds of thousands of local cultures.”
My paintings are meant to feel familiar, but they do not reflect specific places in our world; rather, they explore ideologies and emotions evoked by certain kinds of places. In my more recent work, patterns and stencils flatten the images in ways that are reminiscent of design, folkloric art, and graffiti to intentionally subvert existing hierarchies in artmaking. The collages and drawings serve as pauses in the painting process, as reminders for intuition and the power of abstraction in conveying meaning and mood.