Fan Mail

From Bob Ross, fellow artist,   “....here are some reflections on your work....”   2017

I think the first things that struck me about your work (lo these many years ago at the Oakland Art Museum) were the beautiful quality of rendering and color and the luscious paint quality; the total soulfulness of the paintings; and your full-hearted presence in the work.  None of that business of the pictures being over there while the painter is over here.  In other words, the work is not abstract in the sense of being merely conceptual or merely 'good looking.'  And not just a 're-presentation' of story but a juicy presentation of the physicality of paint, color, composition.  It was touching, amusing, thought-provoking, and viscerally resonant.  It was clear from the beginning that you inhabit the work.

Seeing your work over the years has just deepened and expanded that experience for me.  I know you've been into classic myths and fairy tales, political metaphors, social manners, and other kinds of literal or literary reference, like, forever.  And it's like your paintings are not just commenting on or to adopt The Argot Of The Modern Critic referencing past works of art and thematic materials, but giving us totally fresh 'takes' on classic forms. The way, say, a jazz musician will do his own fresh version of a standard. 

In these paintings, as in other work I've seen of yours, your graphic ingenuity and expertise is marshaled in the service of the story, giving us the story in all its inherent specificity and ambiguity, for us viewers to absorb, consider and interpret according to each her/his/my own personal bent.  And, especially, enjoy.  I see these paintings as gifts of thoughtfulness, prowess, finesse and pleasure.    And then there's a kind of counter-energy, which is that the story is a pretext for bravura painting; and this is something below the surface, but which has direct, unmediated visual and visceral punch.  And which is a fundamental aspect of your works' meaning…

 So I guess what I'm saying is that I love your work.  I love your devotion to the masters.  I love your erudition and your capacity to connect events and persona and environments in a way that's contemporary and accessible and challenging.  Especially I love your drawing and painting, the way it seems to reveal (on close examination) your process of refinement of color and of scale, of composition, of light.  Plus they swing.  They've got rhythm.  All of this seems to me to be a gift (your gift is your 'given' instinct and intuition which you have developed through the gift to yourself of a life of practice and struggle)(and the gift which you thereby transmit to your viewers....the pure pleasure and inspiration of seeing work beautifully made).

 Love ever,   R