These paintings explore themes of spirit and struggle within modern Floridas natural environment, and its lands and creatures which still manage to survive, but often in small and isolated natural habitats. My work concerns the change and our impact on this natural environment and the inevitable forced migration, dislocation or destruction of most of that flora and fauna.
For a number of years, Ive had an interest in reaching back to reconnect with an artistic linage of American landscape painting, from the late nineteenth century, focusing on a group of painters who came to Florida from the Northeastern United States immediately following the Civil War. Artist such as, Martin Johnson Heade, George Inness, Thomas Moran and Winslow Homer to name but a few. They came and often painted romantic visions, or idealized dreamscapes, of this exotic southern landscape, as a paradise. Though they looked at this world as artists with some scientific curiosity and concerns, they still managed to view it through the field glasses of dreamy romantics.
My works build on these stories (either real or conjectured), along with my own observations of, and concerns for, all the creatures that move within the shrinking environs they inhabit. Creatures moving between and over one another, hoping to survive the chaos of our modern lives, in the darkening illuminations of their fading wilderness. Many prophetic artists, even as early as the 1870s, foresaw this fate, though surely not to the current levels of decimation.
Still, even in 2013, powerful birds, vigilant panthers, wary gators, blackwater swamps, old cypress trees, still manage to exist in Florida and in my paintings, along with back road citrus stands, and careening logging trucks. Paintings of a time and a place, midways between hope and despair.