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Definite Article, 2002-2006

oil on canvas


These paintings are based on sequences of images drawn from my anthropomorphic alphabet. The alphabet serves as an organizing structure for compositions that, when painted, take on a life of their own. I can improvise on the letters as individual images or group them in pictorial sequences, as words. 


I am puzzled by the relationship of language to visual images.  If images are to be based even distantly on words, then not any word will do. The words I am most comfortable representing as a painter fall into a class that linguists call “empty signs” or “shifters” because they are non-referential with respect to reality. They don’t directly name a thing or an action in the world.  IN.  They don’t assert anything. THE.  They are neither true nor false. WHICH. They are unique each time they are uttered because their references are dependent on their context. THAT. Their fluid state suggests a way of thinking about painting that deeply appeals to me.  THIS.

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