Utopia is a perfect nowhere. It is a dream of human perfectibility that many thinkers and writers have pursued, and it is a place that doesn’t exist. Imagined utopias and dystopias are provocations for thinking about the sorts of worlds and societies we want or don’t want. My current body of work engages with tensions between utopic and dystopic visions. The paintings are filled with contradictory impulses as they explore notions of human happiness and perfectibility, the creation of Edenic paradises, devolution and collapse, nature and culture, the monstrous and the beautiful, mythmaking and storytelling. Fragments of the real and unreal merge to create possible futures that have potential to evoke the dangers inherent in thinking that human ingenuity and technology can create a perfect society, but that hint at possibilities of a new beginning. I am especially drawn to the title of Paul Gauguin’s painting "Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going?" as evoking crucial questions for contemporary examination.
Taking inspiration and imagery from literature and film, along with art historical, historical, contemporary, and personal sources, I create combinations and layers of digitally edited compositions that form the basis for beginning a painting in oil. I make connections between what I see and a wider network of perceptions and memories and then allow the unexpected to happen when painting. Using the rich qualities and possibilities of paint, I seek to convey a visceral sense of place and time to suggest what is simultaneously familiar but strange. Narratives are ambiguous and open, leaving the viewer to create their own story and meaning. Merging fragments of the present, the past, and an imagined future the paintings create a fictitious world, a “no place” but one in which we might find something of ourselves and our world.