Artist's Statement
Vessels 2006

Vessels, these paintings continue my exploration of solitary boat hulls Initiated over a decade ago.

I began the first series of boat images in the fall of 1993 following a trip to Greenland.
I had encountered a solitary boat hull - inverted, ribs exposed, lashed down to wooden posts on a rocky hillside.   And so began my fascination with the ribs of eroding boats.

Since that initial series of large scale paintings a decade ago I have periodically returned to the exploration of representations of skeletal hulls.  During my travels I seem magnetically drawn to the powerful forms of these traditional skin covered, wood framed boats. It is my practice as an artist to photograph the boats on location and then return to my studio to begin painting and working with these elemental structures.

These organic forms, with evident human intervention, carry the mystery of time suspended, as they are at once recognizable yet never fully explained. History, culture and mystery are all present in the sanded and layered ribs of the boats that are revealed.

Skeletal boat hulls  share much with other subject matter that I have explored over the past several years. Since the early 1990’s I have been occupied with exploring and depicting objects and structures made by humans from organic materials.  These objects are primarily objects of containment - images of vessels, boats, stones, urns, shafts, grinding stones. The objects depicted are in the process of eroding, being taken back by nature.

My method of painting is intimately related to erosion and excavation. The paintings are mixed media (primarily acrylic)  on wood panel, the technique one of layering  and glazing then sanding and scraping to reveal the pigments and texture trapped beneath the surface.  The impact of light and the effect of chiaroscuro in revealing these objects is a dominant factor in the paintings.

In 2002,  I produced a small suite of intaglio prints entitled Resting Place . It was the process of working on these ghostly distilled  images that has brought me once again to explore the solitary skeletal hulls in large scale paintings

 Artist Statement May 2006

Notes on the titles

Currach refers to a traditional Celtic boat now found primarily in  Ireland.
Kayak or baidarka refers to the traditional boat of the Inuit of North America
Umiak refers to the traditional boat of the Inuit of Greenland

The boat paintings with “Nuuk” in the title refer  to the capital city of Greenland where I first photographed an elevated, inverted, skeletal boat.