Tuesday, April 19, 1994
Dear Mr. and Mrs. Karsen,
I am pleased that you have my painting, “Untitled 1986, oil on canvas 72” x 96,” in your possession.
In responding to your request for my comments regarding this work, I need say that much that I know of it, now, is after the fact of its painting.
I recall that the image was initially envisioned as a juxtaposition involving interdependent and contrasting representations of female and male. From the outset, I sensed a requirement of simultaneity. As the work progressed an equilibrium in suspension emerged, strongly contrasting in quality of color, space and temperature and I responded to implications of its development. The left portion of the image, assigned to female, is comparatively warm throughout. The right portion, assigned to male, is comparatively cool. As I see it now, subjectively, in the left portion, a sun-filled earthen gold ochre and red female configuration hovers over a receding figure flesh rose plane and at a distance two verdant mountains abreast (here with respect to figure and ground an inversion of local color association, i.e., land and body, occurs). In the right portion, an intense deep cold blue male configuration floats afire before magenta figure-rock fragments (thus burning cold—an inversion of color and temperature association).
Since I envisioned that the environment of each configuration would reflect the influence of its inhabitant, or vice-versa, a subtle environmental transition from warm (left) to cool (right) was necessary. I remember that the warm light of the left portion brought with it the atmosphere of land and cool light of the right portion brought the atmosphere of sea.
I mention this association of atmosphere because there has been a recurring metaphor in my work with respect to the interactive nature of land and water, female and male.
I know that each of us experience an image in a unique way and in sending you the foregoing, I have attempted to convey to you something of the way I see and perhaps something of the way I work.