It was June, 1982. I had just completed my third consecutive semester at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY. I bought an inexpensive fifty page drawing pad, intending to play with the regular division of space. The initial impetus for this exploration came from a long standing admiration for the work of M.C. Escher. I began by dividing the space delineated by the first page with a simple straight line, attempting to feel a "comfortable" location for that line. The mindset necessary for this process was something I had been most skillfully guided to by Ray Folger, my Form and Space instructor. Still playing, (how to play creatively was one of the most important things I learned at Pratt), I repeated the exercise on the next few pages. Each line across a page created two unique spaces which I subsequently divided with one or two additional lines, creating still more spaces, and so on. By the time the pad was full, I had developed a rudimentary version of the pattern which has been central to my work for more than two decades.
A simple and inauspicious beginning for something which would have such a dramatic effect on both my work as an artist and on my life as a whole. I realized I had created something unique, but the pattern needed to grow before I would see its enormous potential. Straight lines on paper became Colored lines on primed canvas. My earliest paintings were built on the strength and simplicity of the pattern alone, primitive, yet powerful in their own way. I progressed to painting my pattern over simple geometric backgrounds and then over playful expressionist splashes, taking delight in the interaction of the pattern with the colors in the "underpainting".
My pattern has evolved and continues to evolve over time. By the time I left New York City in October 1983, I was consciously building each line out of the lines around it, visually connecting the entire surface of the painting. I have always enjoyed manipulating color, so I focused on that, using my pattern as a lens. Today, I am still refining and perfecting my technique, seeking that perfect balance between spontaneity and control.
Comparisons have been drawn between my work and Islamic, Celtic, and, more recently, the art of the Australian Aborigines. I believe it falls somewhere between the precise mathematical and geometric frameworks of the Islamic and Celtic patterns and the "Dreamtime" creations of the Aborigines. My unique pattern is built from intuition and the natural movements of my hands, with just a touch of control. I have never seen anything quite like it.
I often speak of "my pattern," but I feel it is much more than that. It is larger than me, more than just my trademark painting technique. There is something basic, even primal about this pattern, as if it emerges from a part of me that every human, possibly every living thing shares. There is a life to it, the way it floats over the canvas, moving through and across the painting in a random and beautiful dance, transforming it into something much more than the sum of its parts. There are times when I am not sure if I created this pattern or merely discovered it. It seems ancient to me, as if it has always existed, deep in the fabric of our reality. Why it has come to the surface through my painting is a mystery, but exploring the world this pattern has opened up to me is an ongoing adventure, never failing to excite and stimulate my imagination.