For the past 20 years or so, I have been exploring open-ended narratives in my art practice. Using mostly a portrait-drawing format, I tap into my subconscious and psychological brain space to conjure loose metaphors and symbols and weave them into my characters. These “people” represent a kind of psychological self-portrait. My goal is to leave the character’s life-story open to interpretation, inviting the viewer into the story-telling process. The results are what appear to be damaged or severely flawed beings, but a second look reveals complex and sensitive spirits, more like enthusiastic upstarts, rather than rejects or troublemakers.
The two murals in this space were conceived specifically for this exhibition at Santa Clara University. Originally, I had an idea of using scouts (girl and boy) as metaphors for students. In my mind, higher education is partly about scouting new territory, primarily the future. The scouts evolved into backpacking hikers who are on a quest for knowledge and understanding. In the large mural, the seekers are navigating a dystopian future landscape, and the journey is not an easy one. We see the characters engaging each other. One is apparently the leader, and two others are off to the side, plotting perhaps. The second mural, a wooded landscape, is more serene, its characters more at ease.
The participating SCU students were invited to arrange the characters as they saw fit. The variety of figures encouraged students to develop a story by placing the characters together, inventing a narrative by proximity. The students and teacher Julie Hughes also assisted in painting in the background landscapes, as well as hanging my panel drawings. Special thanks to Julie Hughes, who facilitated the student interaction, and Ryan Reynolds, who invited me to exhibit at SCU.
This show is in the Fine Art Building Gallery, with the entrance to the building on The Alameda in Santa Clara, CA. The opening reception is this Thursday, January 16, 5-7pm.