Working From Observation
Working from observation, at least a little, is important to me. I don’t like to completely invent figures. I refrain from posing the friends who model for my drawings. I’m interested in how they express themselves in their own body. From that expression, I choose to draw moments that have some visual or emotional impact. The unselfconscious moments when the subject is completely him/herself are always the best. These can be simple ordinary gestures but they are honest and when I’m successful this comes through in the work. I sometimes think that this authenticity, this genuine collaboration with the model is what is best about my figurative work. I’m simply finding something, not inventing it. When I move on to larger canvases or sculptures, I try to remain true to the original expression of these authentic moments by working exclusively from the initial drawing.
I have been thinking about making images of elephants for years. I have always liked sculptures of Ganesh. Recently one appeared in an important dream so I finally decided to make some drawings. These canvases are the result.
In the dream I was riding a baby elephant trying to herd in a number of animals that had escaped from a zoo. This was all happening near a studio I had a few years ago and around a park in a city that was part Edmonton and part Porto Alegre in the south of Brazil. Without getting into the interpretation of the dream, the baby elephant, for me, symbolizes creativity and the importance of persevering on my path as an artist. After a difficult couple of years adjusting to my father’s dementia the baby elephant had shown me what I must do.
Bronze Figures- Drawing into Sculpture
In my current practice I use quick pen and ink figure studies as source material for sculptures. In this mode of exploration, sculptures are modeled exclusively from a single drawing. Working directly in clay from already distilled drawings allows me to focus on what is essential to a particular gesture or moment. What is revealed in the line of ink is what I look for in the clay. With this essential information in front of me I can at once work from observation and freely exercise my formal instincts as if I were working completely abstractly. This process is liberating. I focus my attention on contour, weight, and structure, executed in a quick gestural manner. This way of working combines the rigorous formalism of my early training, observation, and a figurative vocabulary I continue to develop.