The paintings grew out of a residency at the Camargo Foundation in Cassis, France.  Known for its shimmering light bouncing off the surfaces of the deep-emerald sea and stark white rocks, the region has attracted not only painters but also photographers and filmmakers, who sought to capture the luminance of the landscape.  Among them were the Lumière Brothers, Jonas Mekas, Othon Friesz, and Winston Churchill, to name a few.  Although the climate of Provence is arid, the coastal inlets, calanques, hold the light dispersing droplets of condensation suspended in the air, rendering it pearlescent against the deep ambient hues.

This work is part of the larger series, titled Eight Board Feet, inspired by the Northern Baroque landscape tradition and concomitant advances in mathematics that brought about a new understanding of nature.  In the process of making meticulous drypoint studies (drawings with a needle on copper plates) on site and translating them, largely from memory, into paintings in the studio, my recent paintings have become more detailed, tactile and, at the same time, more abstract.  Despite the extreme linear format of the boards, the space no longer unfolds in a linear progression.  To appear continuous, a sequence of warped planes and curved passages necessitates transitions that are simultaneously highly distorted and believable.  The insertion of segments that are impossible to observe engages the mathematical notion of continuity in a sequence.  With the increasing spatial complexity and abstraction of imagery, my paintings, while remaining approachable, become glimpses into what we know exists that cannot be described using conventional pictorial systems. 

Melding together observed and invented images is not a novel practice.  In fact, more often than not, Northern Baroque landscape is both real and imaginary.  In conversations with a mathematician, the transformations emerging in my paintings prompted me to think about the discovery of calculus in the late seventeenth century by Newton and Leibniz.  Leibniz hypothesized the existence of infinitesimals, which are quantities less than any positive number but greater than zero and, therefore, cannot be represented by points on a standard real line.  Considered radical and even absurd in his time, the notion of an infinitely small number was not understood until the discovery of non-standard reals by the twentieth century logician Abraham Robinson.  Nonetheless, it was used to derive correct formulas for analytic geometry and its applications, making calculus the basis for physics.

Abraham Robinson’s rigorous definition of infinitesimals also implies the existence of infinite numbers, the reciprocal of an infinitesimal being infinite.  This interrelationship of infinitely small and infinitely large quantities in the construction of a non-standard real line is also relevant in the context of my paintings.  As my pictorial line grows denser, it expands beyond conventions.  I see a valid metaphor with the passage in mathematics from the rational numbers to the continuum and beyond, to the non-standard line.

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