From the beginning, my work as an artist was about light. The medium of photography yielded to this perfectly. But the fascination with light, and more so the fascination with vision and the eye as its instrument has become a prevalent theme in both my work as an artist and as a scholar. The light through the viewfinder of my camera led me to places that do not exist, yet they are intimate. They are memories, but they are of things that have not happened and never will happen.
During times that I have felt weak, painting has made me stronger. The line of a shoulder, the shadow around the conjunctiva of an eye and the edge of the pupil, the light upon the surface of the retina, the application of flesh tone and glaze to build the surface of the skin.
The structure of this imagination turned into paint on canvas allows my world to feel real. It allows me to grasp onto something when I have felt like a ghost.
Art can be a way of waging war. It can be a way of piecing together that which has been destroyed, or defending those who have been attacked. This defense in painting, makes the surface of the canvas like armor. The prevalence of the color black in my work is a manifestation of this, of impenetrable night.
Marriage changes everything. My wife became my devotion in painting. After painting her a multitude of times, I struggle to express, to understand her delicate, complex features. She is in my world what Helen is to ancient Greece. I cannot perfect her face, and struggle even to try. Love binds us to one another. Children are born and we are bound once again. The miracle of witnessing the birth of my children, of pulling Elliot out of the womb with my hands, was both incredible and traumatic. I depict these events a number of times in drawing and painting.
Memory is still an important part of my work in more recent times. Sometimes it feels like piecing together a puzzle, like remembering disconnected events in a state of amnesia. The recollection of memories, of recreating them in a work of art is also a reaction to a fear that what I experience, what I have in life does not exist. It is about the existential crisis of not being certain that when the sun goes down it will rise again in the morning. It is about an uncertainty that occurs when one comes to the realization that life is a dream. A dream of which the solidity is only apparent by remembering what is true.
Truth in art is important. Derrida said it. But people don't like to hear it. The word truth appears too full of judgment, and needs to be swept under the rug of subjectivity. Subjectivity is lost in painting by way of the artist's gaze and how he represents what he sees.
Truth in painting can express sadness or joy or pain, but most effectively it needs to portray all of those at once. The movement of someone's body, the gesture of their arm being raised, or the turn of their head expresses the physical force of movement, but also the elegance of the soul which shines forth. This, from the beginning, is about light.