Reflections and Portraits, 1975 - 1983
Paintings as objects and illusions
In 1972 I was confronted by an exhibition that included large-scale photorealist paintings at the Cleveland Museum of Art. This was the first time I had encountered any artwork like this. I was dumbstruck and emotionally moved. I immediately knew that this was the kind of work I wanted to make. My earliest painting was heavily influenced by both the radical pictorial power, conceptual framework, and remarkable technical skill of painters like Chuck Close and Don Eddy. I began making large scale oil painted portraits. I attempted to exactly mimic the look and feel of airbrush paintings, but I didn't even know what an airbrush was. I was fortunate to meet Don Eddy. He responded positively to my work and encouraged me to begin using the airbrush. That became the fuel necessary for my work to quickly accelerate.
In my portraits I wanted to present a theatrical, staged representation of portraiture. Soon after I began painting reflective sculptural objects. My work started to have a more individual voice. I began creating paintings from my own photographic sources taken in museum spaces. This interest in reflective imagery encapsulated within the object led me to explore how the picture plane could be addressed through illusion combined with shaped paintings. This begins my interest in the layering of image and space, as well as the examination of the institutional display that still permeates my work today