2/1999 – Planet Earth & 4 Directions Gallery – Grand Junction, CO
“To us art is an adventure into an unknown world, which can be explored only by those willing to take the risks.”
Mark Rothko and Adolph Gottlieb
June 7, 1943
From early on in my study of Art, I found myself interested in the paintings of Abstract Expressionist Mark Rothko. His simple expression of the complex thought captured my attention and ultimately posed the question “why do I make art?” After much contemplation, I came to the conclusion that I had no true answer to the question.
During a seven-year hiatus from making art, I reassessed my interest in Rothko’s work. In the process I began to investigate a major influence of his, the work of Spanish painter Joan Miro. The impression of Paris and the Surrealist movement had a profound effect on Miro, and his work to come. His paintings and drawings, with their child-like simplicity, made me realize that art, as life, is a continuing investigation and exploration into the unknown.
Miro’s influence of surrealism, images from dreams and the use of automatism established a precedence on which I could build upon. His influence on my process led me to the series of drawings in “Tree Houses.”
The seven drawings in the series are from a two-month period, in which I completed twenty-five drawings. I approached each piece with a “sketch book” mentality of putting ideas on large paper at a rapid pace. Working in this manner proved to be an exploration of a subconscious state of childhood memories and reoccurring dreams. In this exploration, I rediscovered a long ago fascination with the lake across the street from the house where I grew up.
Growing up near a farm, with this lake as the focal point, I was exposed to a place that implored creativity and exploration. In the large cottonwood trees that surrounded the lake were several tree houses built by some of the older kids in the nearby neighborhood. Each tree house filled a need to be independent from the adult society. My young age precluded me from building such a monumental structure at the time. Nevertheless, I paid close attention to the nuances of constructing and operating such a secret society. At the age of nine, I finally was given the opportunity to fashion a tree house of my own.
Today, my memories and dreams of this lake seem to merge closer and closer together. I find it increasingly difficult to distinguish between the two and altogether unnecessary. What has become important is experiencing a little taste of the unknown.