These white-on-black abstractions are merely residue left behind, the result of a much greater defining process.
For over four years my attention has been on a body of work entitled “Sequoia,” named after my mixed-race daughter. Her African American mother and I had her four years ago. This ongoing series of paintings mirrors and informs our connections and distinctions between us and, ultimately, the outside world. Guiding this process are two principles: black should strengthen white and white should strengthen black.
The medium is black tar and titanium white oil. Whenever possible, I get out of my way and simply allow the medium to be the medium.
Tar informs. It gives depth to light and establishes shape and configuration that can’t exist otherwise. Often, tar creates unforeseeable results that challenge and often exceed expectations. The ambivalence of tar separates me from my intentions and fosters acceptance.
Titanium white describes. It offers variation to dark and provides body and reflection that can’t exist otherwise. It’s the searchlight, engaging and revealing what is there. Imposing at times, titanium white offers itself up and communicates a response in return.
Isolating and converging white and black, paintings in this series promote similarities as well as differences. That said, the impact I have on the material is less important than the material’s impact on me. These works allow me to transcend concept into reality, and in doing so help define who I am, who my family is to me, who I am to my family, and who we all are to a larger world.