I base my work on the return to those standards which demand the knowledge of composition, perspective, color, three dimensional form, draftsmanship and anatomy. Deeply inspired by both 17th century Dutch and 19th century Orientalist painters, I am enchanted by their ability to capture the most intricate details of textiles, decorative porcelain and metal. In keeping with the art tradition of the Old Masters, I attempt to imbue reality with a sense of richness -opulence- that gives each piece a heightened sense of grace and elegance. Using the laws of chiaroscuro: the treatment of light and shade in drawing and painting, an ordinary still life or a kimono draped figure become vibrant and dazzling. In each painting, my goal is to transcribe the world into something slightly rarified, a realm in which beauty and harmony reign supreme.
Origins of Dutch Still Life and Orientalism
The miracle of the Netherlands occurred throughout the 17th century, when the Dutch revolted against the dominion of Spain and the Catholic Church. The migration of Calvinists to the Netherlands, who established a capitalist and democratic republic, created a prosperous merchant and urban middle class. The Northern Netherlands became the leading economic engine of Europe, trading with Asia via the Dutch East India Company in the early 1600s.
By 1700, the Dutch role in making geography was extraordinary. They were the preeminent producers of geographic wares and thus, the leading boundary makers for European consumers: the principal authors of the myriad of representations of the non-European world that circulated throughout Europe during the decades leading up to and following the year 1700. Consequently, the Dutch played a pivotal role in shaping the world as perceived by Europeans during the formative colonial history of the late 17th and early 18th centuries. The advantages of this privileged position were considerable. When Europeans looked at the world and imagined its boundaries, when they contemplated the world's varied inhabitants and exotic customs, when they pictured the globe's sundry flora, fauna, and curiosities, when they perceived the rich and enticing commoditites available to enterprising merchants abroad, they did so more often than not through Dutch eyes. They literally gazed at the world in its varied textural iterations, in lavishly crafted still life paintings, in collections of Deltware, silk brocades and tapestries, and all other decorative arts that incorporated exotic motifs that were part of the Dutch provenance.
Although the Dutch were the earliest of geographers, they fell to the rear as other European nations amassed imperial power. As the Dutch Republic became less engaged in conquering the world, it became more invested in describing it, for it was the Dutch who first introduced the rich and very influential source materials from their moment of early empire. The Dutch delivered a compelling and opulent image of the world. These efforts amounted to the invention of a new form of exoticism which would have lasting effects on Western art and culture for centuries.
More importantly, the Dutch Republic democratized art, for there were no churches to adorn in a Calvinist society, and no aristocracy to patronize. Each homeowner dressed plainly, but took immense pride in his residence, possessing many paintings. These non-commissioned paintings were often purchased at the artist's studio or in a new business venue: a gallery. The Dutch also popularized a new genre for the Protestant middle class: stilleven, or still life.
Thus, the expanding global world could be viewed on canvas in sumptuous vivid colors. The places and products of the globe could be condensed into paintings of brilliant Brazilian parrots, elegantly plumed peacocks and pheasants from the Far East, ornate Ming vases, silk textiles, exotic fruit and flowers that were frequently arranged together. Often, one is struck by the abundance and variety of objects found in a Dutch still life. These objects were dispersed from the merchant ships and shops of the Netherlands to the curio cabinets and the paintings sold to a growing consumer market across Europe. Dutch painters created an enduring interest in Orientalism which peaked during the late 19th century. In doing so, the highly contested imperialist world was decentralized and decontextualized into an assortment of exotic collectables and luxury.
Still Life and Interiors
I paint objects that delight the eye, describing the beauty of textiles, fruit, flowers, metal, glass and porcelain. Once composition is determined, pattern, detail, light and shadow dominate my painting. Borrowing from the traditions developed by the Dutch 17th century painters, I present ordered and well-defined objects in a shallow space that enhances the viewer’s ability to examine them closely. In creating my own still life and interiors, I was heavily influenced by the Old Masters such as Caravaggio, Jan Brueghel, Willem Kalf, Jan van Kessel, Jean Baptiste-Simeon Chardin and of course, Jan Vermeer. Nineteenth century American painters James and Raphaelle Peale, William Harnett and others have also been influential in developing my personal aesthetic.
Portraits and Figure
Many museums and art books have been filled with unforgettable images that immortalize and give dimension to human beings. While I capture likeness, my portraits are figure paintings are ultimately designed to portray richness and splendor. The luxuriant quality of silk-draped skin is central to all my figurative work. Atmospheric lighting, textural specificity and balance in composition are of utmost importance. The principle feature is to give a high degree of information about the subject while controlling formal elements such as composition, line, color, light and brushwork.
I am devoted to studying nature’s laws in order to dignify the luminous elements of earth and sky in natural landscape paintings. It is based on observation with the primary intention to represent beauty. The technological revolutions of the 20th and 21st century changed man’s relationship to the land, and I also paint urban landscapes in an attempt to make the genre relevant when environment is profoundly shaped by man. My work here is essentially figurative, describing vignettes of city life as its own genre. Landscape painting is truly an expression of tremendous variety and vitality.
International Guild of Realism
Portrait Society of America
Twenty-Two Gallery, Philadelphia
Philadelphia Sketch Club
Sedona Art Center