I can remember loving the original Nintendo game system as an object to be admired almost as much as using it to play the game it was intended for. Growing up in the 1970s and 80s, I loved looking at the chunky, colorful forms of my step-dad’s 8-track tapes and my own cassette tapes as well as the shape of hardbound books in rows at bookstores and libraries. The common thread throughout of the minimal design and color of these boxlike objects seemed to often convey more to a keen observer then they were envisioned to. My new body of paintings titled The Parkwood Series nods in this same direction of forms calling for attention. On the one hand, these thirty paintings can be loosely categorized as somewhere between post-minimalism and hard-edged geometric abstraction. On the other hand, I would also like to admit how much the colors and lines in these works have been inspired by the “patterned,” “shaped” and “formed” world around all of us, both man-made and not, from butterfly wings, to basketball shoes and the boxes they come in, doughnuts and their boxes, and to product design and their uniquely structured and intentionally colored boxes, to science fiction design aesthetics, sports uniforms and the kinds of colors we use for commercial signage to name a few.
Line and color organizes so much of daily order and life, conveying ideas and intending purpose. My paintings, in their own way, carry forth these connections that permeate our common cultural experience. And like icing on a cake, there is also something about succinctly composed, minimalist objects that, for me, simply brings joy to my eyes through the means of color and form, much in the same way strumming a guitar can bring joy to my ears via sound and melody. It is my sincere hope that this work in turn offers joy in the most humble yet satisfying ways to you as well.
I would like to add that this work is also deeply indebted to my past mentors, Linda Day, Tom Monteith and Mark Emerson and to the history of painting I’ve grown to love so much.
Reason for this work:
In many ways this series is a simplification of my past and recent paintings. I have titled this limited edition of paintings The Parkwood Series, because that is the name of the street where my family lives and also the studio address where the works were made. The title is also in reference to one of my favorite California painters (where I spent most of my life), Richard Diebenkorn and his iconic series of paintings titled The Ocean Park Series, which were each titled the same and labeled in chronology. My own thirty paintings together make up my first numbered series as a celebration of our time living in Carytown on Parkwood Avenue where over the years my wife, three children and myself have walked through our neighborhood of little row-houses and along the colorful, boxlike shops up and down Cary Street. It seems fitting to me that this is a key source of inspiration for me and a locator of meaning for you.
With that said, our family is now in contract to move into a new home on the Northside of Richmond, on a street called Moss Side Avenue. The prospect of going from renting a home to owning our first is thrilling, humbling and a bit nerve-racking. This Northside home has all we need to live out the rest of our lives as a family with hopes of leaving a legacy for that neighborhood and that our children and grandchildren will continue on in that home for generations to come. There is a sizable three-car garage in the back that we will transform into a studio for me and an experimental exhibition space for local artists as a supplement to the more formal shows at the gallery I curate and manage, Shockoe Artspace. The studio will further serve as a space to host art crits, as an art documentation space, and as a location for art classes and mentoring all with the intention to fill gaps, bolster community and interaction, and create a vibrant culture that ripples out into care for the people of the city of Richmond and even, dare we dream, beyond.
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