work has always been involved with water
images, the element of birth and renewal
in nature. The paintings incorporate ecological
concerns along with our instinctual and
biological relationship to the natural
world, the beauty, the terror, and the
fear of loss.
For several years, my concentration was
on the primal swamps of Florida and the
southern United States, where I found
an intensification of the elements I seek
and attempt to communicate in my work.
As the ecological crisis accelerates,
I find that my response to the swamps
I visit intensifies. And the need to communicate
the fragile wonder and life-affirming
experience also intensifies.
It is difficult for me to understand man’s
age-old need to destroy and control nature.
There seems to be a love/hate/fear relationship
in operation. We see the fearful avoidance
of nature in Western art until the Reformation,
when the terror and power of nature (since
the church could no longer stand between
man and nature and protect him) appears,
particularly in Northern European painting.
As time progressed, NATURE became LANDSCAPE,
and European art depicted it in a safe
and controlled manner.
Because of this diminution of the nature
experience, I respond more to American
painting of the 19th and early 20th century,
where the transcendental awe of nature,
coupled with a humanistic acceptance of
humankind, prevails. In these works, there
seems to be an awareness of all aspects
of nature, including the frightening and
In addition I respond to Eastern art and
philosophy, which recognizes man as an
element of nature and reminds me of our
need to continue being a part of the natural
world. The fact that in Asian art, the
viewer is both inside and outside of the
painting at the same time fascinates me.
Today, living in a primarily industrial
and technological world, it has been too
easy for man to destroy nature in the
name of progress. Something vitally important
to our existence has been forgotten. I
seem to have accepted the task of trying
to remind people of what we are in danger
of losing. We are not destroying the world;
we are destroying ourselves. The world,
as Lewis Thomas has pointed out, will
continue to exist in a different form.
With our necessary environment in which
to survive gone, we will be extinct.