My work is the result of a long-term interest in patterning, underlying order and to a certain degree, spiritual or esoteric ideas. The images often include numbers that refer to location and proportional relationships, referencing cellular structure or even the double helix of DNA, however they are not purely mathematical. The forms relate to crystalline structure and deeper levels of order found in nature. Some viewers become involved in the process of uncovering how the general patterns are constructed—a puzzle I suppose. From my perspective, I am very interested in stimulating those deeper contemplative moments where the viewer’s thoughts drift inward—perhaps into their own interpretation as to the place that patterns, of all types including those in nature, have in our experience.
When discussing my imagery I attempt to broaden the influence that order, placement, and patterning have had on the evolution of my inquiries. Topics include Bronze Age monuments, spirals and mazes, Pythagoras, counting processes, scientific structures, bell ringing, Anthroposophy, Theosophy, sound, the geometrical tradition in art, and of course pattern. In 2009 my work was included in a group exhibition organized by the Arts Council of Snohomish County titled"Mathematics of Art.” The relationship of Art to Science continues to be a rich resource.
During my formative years I found encouragement in the work of Constructionist and Systems Artists in Britain in particular artists such as Terry Pope, Peter Lowe, Mary and Kenneth Martin, Malcolm Hughes, Jean Spencer, Susan Tebby and Anthony Hill. From North America the influence of Charles Biederman and Eli Bornstein also made its way across the Atlantic. Similarly, Minimalism, Conceptual Art and Minimalist Music, impacted my thinking and artistic practice; influences at the time included John Cage, Steve Reich, Phil Glass, Michael Udow, Sol Lewitt, Hanne Darboven, Mel Bochner, Dorothea Rockburne, Agnes Martin, Alfred Jensen, Mario Mertz and Marcel Broodthaers, to name a few.
As part of my graduate studies in Ohio, I decided to take a class in computer programming. The idea and form of algorithmic instructions seemed to correspond to the visual journey and patterning active in my finished work. For example, the underlying reference to rules, order, and the significant use of numbers reflects the conceptual and instructional system found in programming languages. Even now, I continue to explore how programmed forms evolve through the use of sets of sketches and these inform my acrylic paintings, works on paper and relief sculptures. However, the deeper aspect of creating images based on rules hints at a reflective equivalent, a mirror so to speak, to the viewers engagement with an image and the decoding process necessary to understanding its construction and/or meaning.
For many years the purely visual aspect of my work was minimized in order to enhance content concerning pattern and systems through numerical signage. Slowly over time the balance between the conceptual and the visual reached a more equal relationship—with the edge being given to conceptual content. One of the difficulties working with pattern is the potential for the imagery to become purely decorative. So, for me it has always been important to layer in references that direct the viewer’s attention toward location, order, and other thoughtful ideas. One of the significant challenges over the years has been to stay the course and explore to the fullest extent possible the potential of just a few ordering configurations—diagonal, spiral, and horizontal forms and of course the grid. In addition, working with content that over time moves in and out of favor with the art world can be challenging. For myself the real issues remain in the studio and involve a life long commitment to fully explore the potential of my initial formal, conceptual, and to a certain degree spiritual subject matter.
In the last decade or two, I have focused on spiral forms as a guide for locating numbers into grids. At different times up to four spiral tracks were placed into one grid--more recently I have settled on the incorporation of one or two interlocking forms. My interests have also led me to the study of a configuration called Boustrophedon where linear sequences move back and fourth across the page.
Throughout my career, and particularly in recent years, mystical forms including a spiral/maze found in Cornwall, the Mediterranean and also American Indian culture have influenced my work. This echo back to historical and/or ancient times drives me to questions about the interest of early peoples in order and ideas concerning the organization of the world in general. As an artist the final question for me has always been “Am I the originator of the visual structure being discovered or am I just uncovering what already existed?”