Contemplative art is non-confrontative, yet inevitably at odds with our culture. This is an uncomfortable position for an artist. Today's America, as we all know, is awash in over-stimulating, under-nourishing imagery. Most of us live in visually busy cities, driving and being driven at high speeds down the road and through the air, perennially absorbed in our restless screens. The scale of this assault on our senses is historically unprecedented. Today’s eyes, relentlessly taxed with the daily effort of sorting this bombardment, are sorely in need of a more contemplative visual engagement. Unfortunately, the art world appears less concerned with this need every year. Most of what I encounter in galleries and museums mirrors and contributes to the neurosis of the culture that produced it. This is an unacknowledged tragedy of our times, when even fine art is overstimulating. When our eyes do not rest, neither do our spirits. When our eyes are abused, so are our hearts.
The challenge for me then, as a twenty-first century contemplative, is to meet this growing need with art that is good to spend time with, art that heals with a meditative visual engagement, art that rewards contemplative attention. My day-to-day intention is to create art that opens space within, and as well as apart from, the visual chaos of our lives, art that offers space in which to breathe. Contemplative art is quiet, but engaging, soft spoken, yet articulate. When seriously absorbed, this art restores the spirit and brings goodness to the heart.
Contemplative art does not demand attention, yet it rewards interest. Because it is nonaggressive, it will be easily overlooked, yet when seen it tends to satisfy. Most of my work is comfortable to be called still life: alive but still. It is quiet, a whisper only, never a shout. It lives in the shadows, never competing for the limelight. It only stands out when sought out. Because it has no political or social agenda, it is unlikely to be the center of most people’s attention, reviewed in newspapers or featured in art journals. It does not ask to be noticed. I have often noted that when I visit an art gallery, the art that I most value in the end is the art that I didn’t see on my first walk through, because it didn't call attention to itself.
The artwork I make is intended for just such cultural invisibility. It Is not meant to be discovered by the unquiet eye, but to feed the engaged and honest seeker. I do not ask it to be easy, but to bring ease to the struggling spirit. In the end contemplative art is experienced as pure gift, undemanding and generous.