Background

Educational background

  • BA University of Colorado Boulder, Fine Arts 1969
  • Studied printmaking under Wendell Black, MFA Univ. of Iowa
  • Studied water-media painting under Gene Matthews, MFA Univ. of Iowa
  • U.S Air Force
  • Teaching Assistant, Painting, University of Colorado 1973-74
  • MFA University of Colorado Boulder, Painting and Printmaking 1974
  • Studied painting under Gene Matthews; Frank Sampson, also MFA Univ. of Iowa

Art Exhibitions

Denver Art Museum

Watercolor USA

Perth, Australia Drawing Exhibition

William Kasten Gallery, Cherry Creek, Denver

CPC, Chicago Printmakers Collaborative

Grinnell Arts Center 2017

Iowa City Press Co-op 2018, 2019

Taag Studios & Gallery One-man Show 2019

Figge Art Museum 2020

University of Iowa Health Care (Hospital Complex) 2020-2021

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Range of Focus

Most of my art journey has not been about developing a style as such but chasing an ideal. I could not define the ideal, so I eventually grew tired of most phases and moved on with different techniques and solutions as shown below and on the “Circles in Phases” page. But an archaic spatial arrangement that I have called “space-stacking” for most of my years is a common thread. My most prolific phase is now in the Iowa City Paintings.

Drawing, 1967, 10″ x 12″
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“Dragonfly”, 1968, acrylic on paper, 22.5″ x 30″
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“St. Marks”, 1972, acrylic on paper, 16.5″ x 16″
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“Sand“, 1973, acrylic painting, 22.5” x 30”
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“Grid 1974″, acrylic on paper, 22.5″ x 30”
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“Side-by-Side”, 1977, charcoal on paper, 16″ x 32″
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“Pit”, 1982, acrylic on Masonite, 2′ x 4′
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“Tudor Window”, 1991, acrylic on Masonite, 32” x 48”
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“Church Ceiling”, 1992, acrylic on Masonite, 32” x 48”
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“The Dying Gaul” in Rome: my one and only pen & ink drawing 8.5″ x 12″ on paper. Done in 1980s. Not many editing options!
Rembrandt oil painting partial copy, 1980s acrylic on Masonite, 24” x 48”. Gesso is the drawing medium.
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I’ve explored a wide range of graphic themes, many of which were developed in extended series, but what emerged early was a spatial configuration that I named “space-stacking”.

Our normal vantage point is on the surface of the earth utilizing a multi-point perspective, i.e. the Renaissance window: accurate, natural, well-practiced in all forms of visual endeavor. But, there is a more primitive, archaic form of spatial depiction that is child-like in the placement of objects above, not beyond, to represent distance from the observer. This orientation has allowed me to map my abstract* intentions onto invented scenes that recently have incorporated fences, trees, clouds, streams, etc. in a purposeful, if somewhat, artificial manner as in the examples below and in the Iowa City paintings.

In those paintings I am not trying to create a picture as a rendering. Realism is not my goal. Each painting strives to be an engaging composition of abstracted objects in archaic space. I find this approach an open and flexible architecture for my expression of a sense of rightness.

*Note: Abstract for me means deriving from an object perceived in our world. Picasso’s guitar looks recognizable as a guitar but very different from a rendering of a guitar. Non-objective art for me is without reference to any real-world object. There is a large difference between the two.

“Fences”, 1974, pastel and spray paint on paper, 18 x 24″
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“Fences”, 1974, acrylic and airbrush on paper, 22.5”x 30”
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“Tree”, 1990, linocut, 12” x 16”
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“Modular Trees”, 2000s, pastel and spray paint on paper, 16″ x 16″
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Iowa City paintings, 2019, acrylic painting on paper, 22″ x 30″
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Favorite Influences

My favorite influences are Chinese paintings, Japanese Ukiyo-e woodcut prints, early Russian Icons, Jean Dubuffet, Howard Hodgkin, Paul Klee, Ben Nicholson, Francis Bacon, Barnett Newman, Agnes Martin, Robert Mangold, and of course Jasper Johns (plus 439 Works Online.)

As a young adult I developed a strong appreciation of Mauricio Lasansky’s work, and in the early 1980s I met Mr. Lasansky and Phillip Lasansky in Iowa City. Eventually I purchased four of his prints over the next 20 years. My affection continues, which means I often visit the outstanding rotating collection of Lasansky’s work at the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art where I enjoy a membership.  It must be the foremost assemblage of his work anywhere at 239 pieces.

Because of Lasansky’s long shadow in my life, we moved to Iowa City, IA, in 2017 to devote full time to expanding my personal art portfolio including some of my time being a member of the Board of Directors of Arts Iowa City.

Current Work

I am working on a series of 83+ (current count) acrylic on paper 22.5” x 30” and 3′ x 4′ on hardboard paintings dealing directly with 2-D, space-stacked constructs of abstracted objects.

My method is to work on a flat surface, and one piece at a time. My current preference is to constrain the images by using 15, 30, 45, 60-degree guidelines for angled items and to tilt the plane up as much as possible in a vertical format. Some objects are applied in a precise manner, and specific surfaces are developed by area before color is introduced. Paint is generally applied by wet brush then rubbed like ink in intaglio printmaking. Scrubbing and sanding are always used. To repeat: I am not trying to render any scene authentically. These paintings are not pictures of real-world subject matter. Instead, I am constructing an arrangement that works in the architecture I have defined. I paint what I think, not what I see.

The textures are a special perception, and best experienced in person. Texture is one more feature beyond size, composition, shape, color hue/intensity/value, line/edge, shading, etc. In these paintings the surface is created not rendered. The thingness of the painting, its presence, is as important as the image.

My preference is to “arrive” at a finished work. That means my hand actions are not painterly nor direct. I work from a sketch, but only know when I am done when it happens! Because I do not want to mimic, I had to learn to see without looking. Therefore I do not paint from looking, meaning the finishing event is somewhat of a surprise. As the cliche goes: when all the pieces fall into place. The composition with its surface, the paint’s viscosity/wetness, the area, its shape, its color, its under-color etc. are all conditions that I try to manage to produce an engaging image. I do, however, edit small mistakes with direct, thin brush strokes.

I have been using Microsoft Paint for 30 years with all of its limitations, and in 2020 I converted to ArtRage 6 then Vitae for more functionality to edit my paintings. Late in a painting’s evolution I need to decide those final steps but don’t know what they are without trying. The cognitive ideas show up first as “I should do this or that”, but I need to get beyond those imperatives to natural impulses. That’s too much painting on the actual painting to get it right. Hence digital import of the painting’s current state, and layers of revisions are accomplished in ArtRage6. Then back to the real painting.

Experience has proven to me that I must tie my abstraction efforts to depictions of this space so as to avoid the non-objective and decorative. The space is most important, and is spare, as are my methods. Fidelity to an object’s physical characteristics is not essential. The “foreground” is at the bottom and the “background” is at the top. A supporting duality exists between structure and intuition. That Yin/Yang, for example as in clouds and gates, gates and trees, rivers and bridges, guides the location and amounts that each plays in the paintings.

Yours truly on the far right with Wendell Black, professor to my right, reviewing a donated press for the print department at the University of Colorado in Boulder April 1969. Wendell Black was one of six students in Mauricio Lasansky’s first class of MFA candidates at University of Iowa right after WWII.

And now November 2021 in Iowa City.

New biographical sketch video 7-31-2022 for viewing on Microsoft OneDrive: