I don't believe we see in rectangles. I believe in the “objecthood” of an image. I want you, the viewer, to have an aesthetic and intellectual experience that is fundamentally non-verbal.
My process is such that my paintings have two beginnings: when I start cutting and shaping a board out of an MDF panel, and when I first lay paint to surface after the panel has been primed. The surface of the board and its shape acts as a terrain or even an environment to which I react with paint. This MDF terrain actively shapes my choices and responses with paint, color, and mark-making. I create a play between perceived space with paint, and observed space supporting paint. One kind of painted space creates expectations, which I contradict with the other kind of painted space.
My process utterly governs the final image and form of my shaped paintings. Chance plays a key role in my work: decisions I make in the second phase—priming and painting—are utterly contingent upon the first phase—building a shaped, possibly multi-tiered surface out of MDF and wood. Decisions made in the first phase are influenced by decisions I speculate I might make in the second phase, but decisions I make in the second phase never follow a script. The second phase therefore is always a suspenseful second beginning. It is this suspenseful second beginning that allows me to make work that explores that mysterious gap between paint and the surface/thing.
I let the image, and the shape and surface of the wood inform one another in a more organic manner than I do with my shaped paintings. I may begin with a scribble, or the bare bones of a recognizable space, and then let that dictate which parts of the board should be sacrificed to the band saw. The half-formed image on the newly-shaped surface cannot help but change in response. Pencils, charcoal erasers, sanders, drill bits, a wood burning stylus, and landscape imagery all contribute to a more flexible back-and-forth conversation between shaped wood and image, flat surface and illusionistic light and space. What emerges from that conversation is a unity between image and support free of the rigid dictates of a rectangular format.
I have always been excited by the interaction between an image and the support and format that contain and present the image. Departing from the rectangle makes my artwork as much an object as an image, and I am fascinated by the tension that creates. More recently this excitement has carried over into printmaking--particularly with copper or solar plate intaglio printmaking, monotype, and relief printmaking. There are so many possibilities that go with making a shaped plate that presses a shaped image onto a sheet of paper--even shaped paper. Both the empty space and the delicate physicality of the white paper can have a powerful interaction with the image, which I have only just begun to explore.