I approach painting as a process of exploration and discovery. I am searching for new ways of considering the familiar and ordinary, trying to respond to life’s encounters in a poetic way. The idiosyncrasies of my work evolve, with each work contributing to the next. New ideas fuse with previous discoveries, taking my work in unanticipated directions. The resulting imagery is often peculiar, with unusual subjects and environments that suggest provocative scenarios and whimsical metaphors. For me, the most memorable and interesting paintings evoke mystery. Mystery is unknowable. For example, we may intuitively understand a Magritte painting, or appreciate its strangeness, but it defies explanation and remains enigmatic. My intent is to present this kind of opportunity for open interpretation. Ultimately, I am trying to create alternate realities where our world has strayed from what we know to be true: The grotesque becomes beautiful, plants become animals, big becomes small, death becomes life, feminine becomes masculine, night becomes day…

My recent body of work began as an exploration of the corpse flower and evolved into ideas related to the pursuit of love, awareness of death, and a need for redemption. The show’s title, Beyond the Pleasure Principle, refers to a 1920 essay by Sigmund Freud that marks a major turning point in his theoretical approach. Previously, Freud attributed most human behavior to the sexual instinct (Eros or libido). With this essay, Freud went “beyond” the simple pleasure principle, developing his theory of drives with the addition of the death drive (often referred to as “Thanatos“). The essay describes humans as struggling between two opposing drives: Eros, which produces creativity, harmony, sexual connection, reproduction, and self-preservation; and Thanatos, which brings destruction, repetition, aggression, compulsion, and self-destruction.

The struggle between Eros and Thanatos brings inevitable change. Hind-sight, self-assessment, and humility can reveal who we have been, who we are, and who we would like to be. Much of the imagery in these paintings reflect the idea of self awareness, redefining oneself, and getting to a better place after unexpected changes put you in unfamiliar territory. Moving forward having learned lessons from life’s struggles is a process of redemption.