New Paintings, 2004

Paintings often try to present things that are unpresentable. In doing this they traverse the line that divides sensible ideas, like how light falls on a basket of apples, from insensible ones, like the nature of infinity. Modernist painting tried to cross this threshold by dramatizing the gap between the desire for transcendence and the limitations of painting itself. My paintings try to talk about the pathos of this arrangement by drawing an analogy to the natural history of the western United States. I think the ineffable is like a natural resource which is harvested, processed, and sold by artists and the institutions that support them. The myth and romance of painting, with its promise of entry into a transcendent realm, has a lot in common with that of the West. The history of both can been seen as a series of exchanges between the desire for boundless space and the reality of finite resources. My paintings use the flora and fauna of the West to elaborate this analogy.