INTERIOR. Oil on canvas. 48 x 48 inches. Private collection.
UNIHOVuD. Oil on canvas. 30 x 40 inches. This actually portrays Cerberus, guarding the way to the Underworld; but since my model had only one head (vs. the three Cerberus is supposed to have) I gave it the Norwegian version of "one-headed."
THIS WAY TO THE TEMPLE. Oil on canvas. 36 x 36 inches.
THE ANNUNCIATION. Oil on canvas. 36 x 48 inches
OUR FIRE, OUR WATER. Oil on canvas. 38 x 48 inches.
RISING SEAS. Oil on canvas. 40 x 48 inches.
THE WARNING IGNORED. Watercolor on paper (and a small amount of tempera). 40 x 60 inches. Actual colors are lighter and not so garish.
ADAM AND EVE. Oil on canvas. 30 x 46 inches. Here Adam and Eve have equal responsibility for the gift/curse of knowledge. The sacred tree holds up the archways, but it may not be in such good shape. Overhead, where God might be, is a lightbulb, which seems to be turned off.
Now that there is no one single style for painting, but rather a rich variety of choices, I think of style as a reservoir, or a sort of vocabulary, allowing me to say what I want to say in any given painting or series of paintings. Thus there are wide differences in approach in my work at different times.
My current series, "After Piranesi / After Us," is inspired by the work of the Italian 18th century artist, Piranesi. In his work, ancient ruins are seen as melancholy remnants of earlier civilizations. In Piranesi's famous jail series, heavy ropes hang ominously, and staircases lead upward into darkness. My paintings, combining images of ancient ruins with modern industrial elements, celebrate our accomplishments but also suggest that our way of life, based on endless growth of population and consumption, cannot last; we too are in the process of building what will become (possibly beautiful) ruins. The big difference between Piranesi's time and ours is that we now have the power to not only bring down western civilization, but also much of life on the entire planet.
Although I include some human figures here and there, the structures I portray are essentially empty, and anti-human. These ruins may invite exploration, but they are also fiery, toxic, ominous places. I think of them as what we really might leave behind – monuments, haunted by our industrial dreams.
CROSSPIECE. Oil on canvas. 36 x 60 inches.
THE DEVOURER. Watercolor on paper. 40 x 60 inches. This bird will clean up after us, perhaps.
TIMING THE GREEN. Oil on canvas. 36 x 36 inches. That little earth-moving machine, so toy-like in the upper left corner: can it really threaten all that thriving world of green?
WAITING. Oil on canvas. 36 x 36 inches.
SEA WRACK. Oil on canvas. 30 x 40 inches.
AFTER US #4. Oil on canvas. 36 x 48 inches.
DARK WHEEL. 48 X 48 inches. Oil on canvas. This is in a private collection, and I post it only as a record, and because it captures my theme in an especially clear way, showing ancient ruins through the center of a modern structure, suggesting that our accomplishments will go the way of other empires'. I fear, though, that when we go down, we will take with us far more than just our own civilization.
In the original, the colors are considerably more vivid (not brighter, exactly; but the wheel is a dark blue metallic color, and there are some quiet reds).
ANOTHER PLACE. Oil on canvas. 30 x 40 inches.
FIAT LUX. Oil on canvas. 36 x 48 inches. The figure at left (modelled after Donatello's David) is wearing a gas mask. Hmm.
HOMEWORK. Oil on canvas. 24 x 30 inches.
PROGRESS. Oil on canvas. 30 x 40 inches. Private collection. We think endless growth - of population, and resources taken to support that population - means "progress." See Albert Bartlett's websites on population and energy to see how that works. It's very surprising, I find.
THE WARNING. Watercolor (and a small amount of tempera) on paper. 40 x 60 inches. This photo is darker than the original.
PRELUDE. Oil on canvas. It's roughly 28 x 36 inches. Private collection. This was the very first of the "true" Piranesi paintings. It does seem sufficiently gloomy!
CITADEL. Oil on canvas. 32 x 36 inches.
THE TARGET. Oil on canvas. 42 x 50 inches. In an increasingly overpopulated, poverty-ridden, and polluted world, there are no safe structures left, as desperate people compete for resources. For U.S. population figures, see U.S. Census Bureau Population Clock.
WHAT RATSKA WON. Oil on canvas. 30 x 40 inches.
THE CLOCK IS HER CHIEF ACCUSER. Oil on canvas. 30 x 40 inches. This one is a bit of an anomaly here, as it's slightly humorous: the captive woman, facing an ominous-looking array of household items, is accused by the clock, which she can never satisfy.
SKY, SEA, LAND. Mixed media on canvas. 42 x 60 inches. Sky and sea remain, but what was on land maybe not so much.
THE RED POOL. Oil on canvas. 48 x 48 inches. In a way, this one doesn't belong here: it isn't really about anything but painting. But in composition, it recalls the Piranesi painting on my welcome page here.
MACHINE ROOM. Oil on canvas. 30 x 36 inches.
BRIDGET'S DREAM. Oil on canvas. 36 x 36 inches, I think. Private collection.
PANTHEON. Oil on canvas. About 25 x 30 inches (I forget the exact dimensions; it's in a private collection).