Comfort and Loss" presents two sets of images: one of losses resulting from the Pandemic, entrenched police racism, and the destruction of historic NYC sacred spaces and parks as the result of surging real estate greed; and the other of places and memories that offered tranquility in the face of those losses. As I worried about the validity of doing comforting images, I remembered the article “Vermeer in Bosnia” by Lawrence Weschler which discusses the importance of solace in the face of brutality. One of my places of comfort was our public pool.  Every age, race, ability and class was represented. Looking at these paintings, my friend Frank Walsh made the heartening statement, “The public pool is a great indicator of a civil society.” When we were able to travel again, my sister’s backyard pool, glowing at night, was also beautiful to me. There are no people in the water, which some assess as a reaction to the loss of human contact during the pandemic, but for me, undisturbed water is tranquilizing. In the merge, loss is acknowledged but comfort is available. Perhaps this simply a response to the complex human duality of being surrounded by beauty while bearing the weight of loss.


"Family portraits" of objects Americans have used from the colonial era to the present to spank their children.

While many parents grab whatever is at hand, others pass down the inclination to use a specific punitive implement from generation to generation, as if it were a recipe or holiday tradition. Some tools of punishment are culturally specific — la chancleta, the feather duster, or the lokshen strap — while others, like the switch, seem to know no boundaries.

And then there are some of us who suffered the additional cruel irony of being spanked with their own toys.


The average age for first time porn viewing is eleven. On college campuses there are young people who find themselves disappointed when they get an actual person in their bed because real life doesn't live up to the expectations produced by years of viewing pornography (or conversely, reading romance novels). The term "porn worthy" to describe other students is routinely used and porn addiction seems very real. 

The biggest disparity between porn and real life is the first sexual experience when awkwardness and discomfort are often the norm.  This series contrasts images from porn with text from people's true life, loss of virginity experiences.  The series is neither pro nor anti-porn. It is certainly not anti-sex. It's a statement about unreasonable expectations. It's anti-disappointment.


This series is based on stories I've collected about the contentious, heartbreaking, and ridiculous problems that arise when remains must be honored. 
In western art the narratives depicted are based on known stories -- Greco-Roman or Judeo-Christian myths, historical incidents, etc. -- and explanatory text is not necessary. My narrative paintings and drawings, however, tell the unknown stories of everyday people making the text essential and it appears in the title or in the paintings themselves. 


Having grown up in Oklahoma and South Carolina where storytelling is treasured, it was only natural that my paintings began to include text. Living in New York made me aware of the wonderful, exotic qualities of the American, rural character and appreciative of its relaxed wit and wry humor. Each image includes a story that broadens in its scope to depict class, race, death, or gender politics. Often puns and art historical references occur between the image, the title, and the text. For example, Suddenly Last Birthday uses the background of Las Meninas to emphasize the princess reference. The title refers to the Tennessee Williams play about a cannibalistic event. Eat Crow the composition is based on The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters by Goya, which refers to Aunt Faye staying up night after night to reproduce a pie recipe. The title, Eat Crow, refers to the American colloquialism for humbling a person. Scarlet Runner refers to a type of bean as well as to the red Indian evading the law. 

All of the stories in these narrative, game, and ontbijtjes or laid table Still Life paintings are true. My Great Grandfather never did time for the murder.


In this series I began taking family photographs, laying them out in a narrative sequence, and adding a story.  The stories are as true as I can make them and involve interviews with multiple family members.

At the McDowell Colony, I had the opportunity to have writers work with me on this project.

The photos either further illuminated the story or presented an image so contradictory as to make the viewer question the sincerity of any posed photos of happy families.


My subject matter is based on family photographs, whether they be my own, my friends, or those I've taken from the dumpster behind the Photomat in Richmond, VA.  For me, there is a common feeling in them all: the American dream and its reality, the isolation of the suburbs, and the meaninglessness of a consumer existence.

The spontaneity of the moment that these photos capture is snapped by a camera and forgotten unless found in the back of a drawer or in an old album.  The photos are cheap, disposable commodities and the memories seem also to be disposable and discarded.  But by spending weeks meticulously painting these images I make them precious.  I am commemorating and solemnizing these discarded moments. 

In posed photos, I examine the tensions that lay under the surface of the smiling family members. 

Although the paintings may seem to be direct copies of photos, they are not.   I make visual reference to photographic light and space to reinforce the credibility of the image, but all aspects of the photographic image are manipulated and edited through the painting process to bring the viewer to my understanding of our shared homogeneous American past. 

I work on a small scale because I feel the private experience of standing intimately with a small painting can be more intense than the shared experience of standing with the public in front of a monumental painting.