My current series of paintings, Fun House, is inspired by that topsy-turvy attraction of the same name found in many amusement parks. These disorienting, full-of-surprises architectural experiences are completely at odds with how architecture normally serves our needs. Since living in caves long ago, we have developed architecture to assist in our survival and provide us with places for habitation, communication, business, entertainment, and government. These fun houses, however, are disorienting mazes, perception-altering and physics-defying structures meant to make us question our sanity and sense of reality. In the Surrealist tradition, these paintings use familiar imagery unexpectedly juxtaposed to spark a questioning of our reality and norms. My use of amusement park icons, like Ferris Wheels and carousels, draws on the origins of these places as outgrowths of carnivals, fairs, and recreation zones intended to provide an alternate world to escape the norms of everyday life. My intention is to provoke a consideration of how we choose to live in the world and how we related to nature and each other.
My varied background and work experiences have come together to influence this series. My early studies in biology and many years spent designing theme park attractions and animal exhibits make me aware of our human tendencies to want to control and domesticate nature. And architecture gives form and context for everything we do in all aspects of our lives.
Most of the pieces in this series are done in acrylic and oil paint on hardboard panel. I begin working by hand sketching and using digital drawing, and digital collage to create the juxtaposed imagery and composition in my pieces. Other works use physical collage, e.g. paper and miscellaneous materials, to provide a substrate and textures before painting. Regardless, my images are constructed, collaged, and layered and so are built in a process similar to that of constructing architecture.