In the middle of the journey of our life
I found myself astray in a dark wood
where the straight road had been lost sight of.
How hard it is to say what it was like
in the thick of thickets, in a wood so dense and gnarled
the very thought of it renews my panic.
It is bitter almost as death itself is bitter.
But to rehearse the good it also brought me
I will speak about the other things I saw there.
--The Inferno by Dante Aligheri
Uncertainty is the measure of engagement that people who grapple with the struggles of life undergo. The feeling of being trapped in difficulties, our strength lessened by limits imposed. Yet uncertainty can also make us question what matters, and those questions emerge as expressions of identity. These expressions are a chance to be daring. So Dante is daring when he enters Hell to search for his beloved Beatrice.
THICKET engages with visual complexity and obscurity as an expression of a connection with the primeval depths of origin. I have been thinking about where we come from, as individuals, as a species, and mythically. We are constantly emerging from the darkness of identity.
The forest is supposed to symbolize innocence, a primeval space hidden from the peering eyes of civilized authority. It has also been the stage of rituals by Druidic priests, early celtic religions that preceded Christianity by a millennium. Man did not come down from the mountains but out of the forests, and in a thicket we have mysterious exceptions to the cleared lands that became farms, towns, and cities. The aesthetic of thickness or lushness originates out of an experience, less and less common, of nature in excess. These days, as reality TV interacts with the journalistic genre of wilderness, with sociologically diverse communities that are consistent to wildlife communities, and with the subsequent international crisis of climate change, the theme of nature as a direct model for artistic expression has become widespread.
THICKET explores abstract or ambiguous space as traditionally defined by late Modern Abstraction from Kandinsky to Pollock. This is typically characterized by the use of either expressive marking or layers of opacity, creating either a dense or diffuse palimpsest of detail and meaning. At some point it also departs from the painterly into mixed media assemblage, sculpture, and digital media, expanding upon the reception of denseness while at the same time accruing its cultural value.