First Independent Gallery
Bergamot Station G6
2525 Michigan Avenue Santa Monica, CA  90404
tel: 310.829.0345  fax: 310.829.7612
Wed-Sat, 11-5 & by appointment


Freely Constrained Barely Contained

Sept 9 – Oct 10, 2009



My new body of work has been strongly affected by two decisions I made and their ramifications. The first was a decision in early 2007 to temporarily limit my painting palette to black and white, a serious experiment for a self-acknowledged colorist, that is, one to whom color has been of primary importance and who has always used color as an essential means of artistic communication. The second decision made more than a decade ago was to abandon conscious figuration and to paint abstractly. For me this meant a decision to paint directly from the unconscious. Because color has always been so important to me and because I used it very intuitively in my efforts to bring strength and clarity to a work, I was interested in what would happen if I limited it severely. How would I use other painterly vocabulary (form) to achieve those goals. And what would be the limits of expression without color. I wanted to experience this directly.

My approach to abstraction is to begin a work by putting down paint willfully but somewhat mindlessly so that the material has an opportunity to speak to me. As the work progresses this often supplies or suggests configurations based on the random abstract accidents that occur. This tabula rasa commitment on subject matter along with a more somber color palette combined with the recent period in our nation’s history (2007-2008) as well as my own personal life experiences during this time resulted in sometimes intense works, some with political or philosophical overtones. I would read the gestalt of a work in progress and if it spoke to me in loud or soft terms about matters lovely or hateful, tragic or mad, I then continued to paint imbued with these feelings but concentrating on the painting as a painting. The resulting painterly interventions sometimes intensified the original reading and sometimes diluted it and turned it in another or many different directions before it was finally done. Some of my titles give clues as to the train of thought or river of emotion I might have been riding as I worked on a particular work. Untitled might indicate a helplessness in the face of the richness of possibilities or their overlapping complexities or a desire to give the viewer even greater latitude of interpretation, not that that is not always a given anyway. In 2009, more color has begun to creep back into my work as I integrated some of the lessons learned from these experiments and felt freer to digress although even early on I did include minor coloration if it seemed absolutely essential.

Lately, intentional figuration with plenty of painterly fantasy and rich color took over a painting entirely and in that case I did put abstraction aside for a bit because while I can set some “working” rules, in the end, I only work here and am not completely in charge. As usual, the odd self-portrait, always a part of my work over the years, almost a touchstone, has resurfaced this time in black and white.

Interior, 2007, oil+acrylic on canvas, 36"x48"




Nexus, 2007, oil+acrylic on canvas, 48 "x36"
Leaving Eden
Leaving Eden, 2008, oil+acrylic on canvas, 36 "x36"

Pyrrhic Victory
Pyrrhic Victory, 2008, oil on canvas, 42 "x42"

First Independent Gallery • Bergamot Station G6 • 2525 Michigan Avenue • Santa Monica, CA  90404
2009© FIG