|Over and over in my travels to China, Japan, Italy and Greece I’ve been intrigued by the mystery and beauty of artifacts from the past - objects whose beauty evokes not only their makers but also their users. A third century B.C. Greek cuirass, an Etruscan bronze mirror, a Chinese bronze wine vessel -all intricately worked and showing a high degree of respect for both form and function, but at the same time, often showing exuberant embellishments springing from the sheer joy of making.
In my studio with Italian Baroque music blasting away with its irresistible energy and rhythm, I feel connected to all the earlier makers, consumed with creative energy, outside time and place, subsumed by the making.
Living in Southern California, where everything is new and every other thing is plastic, the allure of antiquity is particularly strong. There are many classical, medieval, and renaissance allusions in my work: this has been true from the beginning, and seems to occur without conscious intention on my part.
Much has been written about the creative process, but I feel that at some level it is unknowable, like a country visited under the influence, or in darkness. When I see a show of my work, I often think “Wait! Where did that come from!” I remember that I made it, but have no idea how, or even why.
Many years ago in Hong Kong, before I knew I would be an artist, I saw a pair of unglazed ceramic chairs, about 18’ tall. They were possibly Ming Dynasty, side by side, but slightly turned toward each other, in a glass case. I was told they were found in a tomb. I’d never seen anything so ancient, nor anything that had such an immediate emotional impact. That image, evoking the vanished couple with whom the chairs were buried, has emerged over and over again in my work, and as with the vests and tunics, I hope evokes a once-present occupant, now absent.