My methodology of making art is exploratory in nature. It deals with the direct manipulation of materials and processes. My vessel or sculptural forms are elegant and classical. The surface painting, drawing, and textural treatment on the other hand, is out of the Abstract Expressionist and Post Modernist Schools. I love the interplay that is created between the refinements of the form and the spontaneously decorated surface. It contrasts the elegant with the organic. I am tight and at the same time loose.
In an American Architecture course that I had taken early in my M.F.A. program, I discovered a great architect who had a profound influence on me and on the direction my work was to take. His name was Louis Sullivan (1856-1924), a major Chicago architect whose work dominated the architecture of the last two decades of the 19th century and the first two decades of the 20th century. He made American architecture, American. His architecture was honestly conceived, and the result showed the direct process by which it was constructed. Ornamentation of the architecture was indigenous to the structure. These structures were neither overly ornate nor pretentious. The ornament was an integral part of the total concept. Louis Sullivan developed new concepts in architecture, both in structural design and ornamentation.
It became very obvious to me that this person was someone I wanted to emulate. Here was a system and a philosophy that would enable me to combine my painting and sculpture skills with and on the ceramic vessel. It was in 1969 that I began the difficult task of combining a strong drawing and painting component onto, and becoming a part of, my vessel or sculpture forms. Like Sullivan, I do not establish a hierarchy or dominance of the form (mass) verses the surface (decoration). As I consider the form, the surface reveals itself as it becomes intrinsic and essential to the whole.
The difficult part of making art, or for that matter, seeking the best outcome in any activity, is being able to recognize potential–the obscure as well as the obvious. Is it mold or penicillin? Seeing the potential is the genius.