.Is there a philosophy or theory on the nature of reality that you ascribe to?
Hmmm. That’s a tough question for someone who’s always mashing things together. The things I keep finding myself drawn to are ultimately about the relationship between a part and its whole. I think there are a few theories of the universe bound up in that idea, although I would not say I have a very coherent description of those relationships yet.
.Your setting is seemingly constant, the stars, outer space, the heavens... what’s that about?
I actually tried to remove the stars from my vocabulary at one point a few years ago and it was extremely difficult. I think the stars remind me (and hopefully the viewer) that the backdrop I’m thinking about is everything, that these are ideas I’m working with. In my studio I often find an image or subject that I try to back away from for whatever reason and the stars remind me that if it is a part of the universe then I can use it. These ‘problem’ ideas or images usually produce the most interesting results.
.I understand that you are systematically arranging your bodies of work around an investigation of the planets. How did you come to use them as an organizing principle?
The easy answer is reading. My reading over the years has continually returned to them, in historical, magical, scientific, fantasy and sci-fi reading, the planets were always there. I realized that they have always been there in the sky to spark our imaginations, no matter what world view you are approaching them from. So in that sense they are operating as a constant for my investigations to be directed in and around.
.Is astrology lurking?
Absolutely, though I have to confess that I haven’t even had my chart done yet. Every time I try to get involved I get confused immediately by some controversy (tropical or sidereal, for example) and I never know which way to go. Someone asked if the shows were in confluence with the planet that I was referring to and no, if they were the meaning could be fixed on that point and I’m avoiding that sort of fixity as much as possible.
.Most of your references seem rather antiquated - why look to the past?
It’s funny, I always think of these images as absolutely now. I blame that on the internet. I think culturally we are in a strange relationship with the future at the moment. All of our models of the future seem antiquated. Even my references to the space program are fifty years old. I’ve been focusing most of my thinking on places in the past that looked something like our own, the 2nd Century A.D. for example. I’ve been looking at that moment in time for a while now, and it gets a little more relevant with each social/political catastrophe I live through.
.I expect most people don’t know so much about most of your images and references. How important is the understanding of the information to the appreciation of the art?
I don’t know everything about the images I’m using, that’s honest, and I think true of any of the historical personages who have used them. For me the use of them is an exploration, and what I hope for from the viewer is a similar sense of wonder and potential that I feel when I use them, maybe even a sense of curiosity that leads them to an internet terminal when they get home...
.Your palette here is limited and quite specific. Is this as to the planet, the body of work, evoking an emotional state, the...?
Color has always been the most difficult aspect of the work for me. I learn something every time I put down a tone and it is very confusing, but it has also recently been very rewarding. For several almost arbitrary reasons Mercury is orange. That said, other colors are used, but always in reference to orange. In the same way that the topic has focused my use of images and ideas, the planet is making color decisions as well.
.For at least three years, the column has been a floating project; would you say something about its significance and function in the body of work?
A column is a support structure and as such becomes a representation of power. A freestanding column is in this sense functionless and suggests a ruin, the endgame in any play with power. This idea of power is I think one of the great secrets that various teachings impart. I think it is one of the first that I learned (if I have learned any ‘secrets’). The freestanding column is a monument not to a lost seat of some power, but to an idea that survives and is dormant, waiting for people who look for them.