Images gleaned from newspapers, snapshots from family albums, Polaroids, stills from my documentary films, as well as direct painting and drawing provide points of departure for these works. The relationship between painting and photography, including the role of painting as a form of contemporary cultural expression, is fundamental to my work. Some imagery is derived from archival footage which has been captured from my own documentary films and synthesized through drawing. I use various media to transform the images and to challenge the widespread belief that photography records a more faithful representation of the world than painting.
My work is diverse and has developed into multiple series. Ink drawings on paper depict crowds of people seen from a distance and in silhouette. These drawings reveal seemingly random groupings of people in which a series of private gestures are juxtaposed with the disciplined maneuvers of invading troops. Abstract configurations of individuals in crowds are familiar to us all, and we recall these patterns from our own observation of people in the public square. Who is the spectator and is their motivation for watching benign or malevolent? Here I wanted the images to convey humanity without sentimentality, to depict the menace-the shadow, as well as the beauty-of an arrested moment caught in time.
A closely related series reveals a completely different kind of public: swimmers interacting in pools hover in space, bordering on abstraction. These composite digital prints of swimmers in pools are influenced by a parallel series of oil paintings on cigar box lids. In the cigar box lid series an illusion of depth is formed by a single meditative shape.
The Color Corrections series originated as screen grabs from color corrections of individual frames in my documentary film, The Peasant and the Priest. The source for these images comes from film footage frames of a priest on a Florence street at night; he is ministering to women who have been trafficked to Italy to work as sex slaves. I transform these still frames so that the figures and narrative are no longer visible; the imagery becomes geometric abstraction. In making these works, I first responded to the way a particular frame looked on a computer screen when it interacted with the post-production software. I took screen grabs of these frames and then manipulated the shapes digitally and with water-based pigments to further abstract the image. I think of these as accidental drawings, a kind of digital collage, still marked by the hand.