“…the first metaphor was animal.” John Berger, "Why Look at Animals?"
In 2003, I adopted Beau from a shelter to honor the first-year anniversary of my sister's death. A decade later, I began working with him. The transitory nature of time and memory and the inevitability of loss are the conceptual foundation of this body of work, which focuses on the relationship between my aging basset hound Beau - who appears as both model and avatar - and myself.
Historically, artists have used women as models and muses and my work with Beau is an extension and inversion of that tradition. Technically, I use a variety of painting methods including imprimatura, wet-in-wet and glazing, combining both contemporary and historical techniques, paralleling my use of historical iconography with contemporary subject matter. Based on my archive of photographs (always candid, never posed), the work is rooted in observation and sensory knowledge. Photography allows me to see more than is possible in the moment – expression, movement, light, point of view. Though I reference this information when composing each image, the paintings are process-driven, leaving the photographs behind. Moments of visual clarity dissolve into transparencies, tracing the tenuous relationship between presence and absence. Artists including Mamma Anderson, Chantal Joffe, Peter Doig, Alice Neel, Edvard Munch, and Philip Guston inspire me and are touchstones in my work.
In Travels with Beau and 13, I foreground my photographic sources to further explore the theme of time. While Travels celebrates years of our car rides together in the tradition of American road trips, 13 acknowledges Beau’s impending mortality. Exploring the complexities of perceptual knowledge and in dialogue with art history, these objects are acts of embodiment in the face of the ephemeral.