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  • Statement of Submission

    I am taking an major step in my career and am going to submit one or two of my images to the Missoula Art Museum’s annual Art Auction.  The dead line for submission is Oct 15.  I need to create an artist statement, which I am quite surprised I have not done up until now.  I went on line to look at what a good Artist Statement should contain and found an article that asks a series of questions that lead to the creation of the statement.  “Step one: Take five minutes and think about why you do what you do.  How did you get into this work?  What are your favorite things about your work?”

    Well here is my attempt at step one:

    I am an artist in love with light and have always worked in light.  I began in the theater as a lighting designer and later segued to photography which for me become the ultimate expression of light.  Someone had once told me the true meaning of photography was to paint with light.  I love this concept as a means of expression.  I was originally drawn to the media by the works of Robert Mapplethorpe.  When I first become familiar with his works I was aghast with how one man was able to take us inside him inner world, show us his true emotions, desire, fear and reveal it within the context of a single image.  I was working in theater at the time and it would take us weeks to express the simple moments he could capture within a frame.  My work is about getting to the core of who we are as a culture, and how we interact individually within that culture.  To reveal our humanity, combing the past with the present always moving toward the future.  Identifying the essence of those pivotal single moments in time, to explore and show the world from my perspective.  Where I have been, what I have done, and how I relate to the environment that surrounds me.  Growing up as a fourth generation cattle ranch family in Western Montana, I was always denied a means of creative expression.  Art wasn’t a topic of conversations and creative endeavors were often shunned or dismissed a trivial or meaningless.  Yet around me, I saw remarkable beauty that I some how needed to express and explore.  It was always about light as it changed the landscape and impacted our mode of operation.  From harvest season to feeding was dictated by the movement of the seasons.  Ranching was hard, yet the beauty of the landscape and emotional response was constantly shifting only to remain covertly hidden, self contained.  I think this is why I was drawn the theater.  Here I had control of the light and could significantly manipulate the emotional context from which I existed.  It is often something we take for granted when we watch the arch of a play becoming revealed.  But there is a beauty that remains subtle and often hidden in the movement in its revelation.  The light color shifts from warm to cool, opening up, and narrowing in focusing the audience’s attention in a sub textural sort of way revealing the character inner being and emotional state.  This is what ultimately draws me to photography: is the expression of one’s feelings that are often hidden, unable to be expressed.  My studio became my ultimate means to explore, control and manipulate the light much the way a painter does when they paint.  I guess in a sense I paint with light revealing what is searching for what is hidden.  Thus began my obsession with the painter Caravaggio; one of the first artist to truly paint his reality from light.  Sure there is an artistic and heighten sense of that reality making it theatrical, more presentational, giving us a broader access to it’s interpretation.  I think the playwright Tennessee William’s sums it up brilliantly in his introductory notes for The Glass Menagerie “ The scene is memory and is therefore nonrealistic.  Memory takes a lot of the poetic license.  It omits some details; other are exaggerated, according to the emotional value of the articles it touches, for memory is seated predominantly in the heart.  The interior is therefore rather dim and poetic.”

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