.....from a letter to Soren Larson, August 11, 2004



xxxxMy desire is not to be understood, but to understand. Appearances even under the best of circumstances are always, to a certain degree, misleading. So are words, sounds, etc.. Why bother then?

xxxxI doubt if Rembrandt wanted to be understood when he was painting his self-portraits and Goya when he was doing the 'Disasters'. How about Velasquez when he was painting the royal children, dwarfs and a dog? Did their attempts have anything to do with 'understanding' and is the idea of being understood a modern thing?

xxxxI fear that the 'Dumb Shows' I have been doing are absurd works that are self-serving. Do I gather any understanding of myself - or of my time - and is the accidental appearance of an illogical perspective and absurd juxtaposition of image help me to understand?

xxxxDamn. My answer is yes.

xxxxAs you know, people need their predictables, up is up and down is down and nature is natural and people are divided into us and them, and in general we are not in charge. Ultimately we need a superior being - a sounding board - a scapegoat. In short we need a hierarchy. My dumb shows disavow a hierarchy. Every institution we support demands a hierarchy. This is supposed to be a 'natural' state and essential to survival - the tribal leader and the shaman.

xxxxPeople need and seek reassurance, eh? So why on earth serve them up an image that bewilders them and leaves them with concern, in certain cases, but mostly disconnect?

xxxxBack to my first statement. I want to understand my own motive but perhaps that is a ludicrous thought. Or is it? In the process of pantomime are we forced into more basic, clean gestures? No illustrations, no complex descriptions, no music, no thunder, no psychobabble, no smile, no mirrors.

xxxxRedon would say everything is smoke and mirrors.

xxxxOr maybe the only way to understand myself is to end this verbal bullshit and paint my way into understanding that there is no understanding. There is only the desire.

xxxxSee Soren, I don't want to miss something that could be a revelation hence my need to explore it a bit. Beauty or course is still an issue, even if it's a terrible beauty. Perhaps especially if it's a terrible beauty. However, beauty that doesn't reveal something unaccountable is usually simply pretty. Like a pretty girl as opposed to a beautiful woman. something like that.

xxxxThen there's truth. Oh boy. Anything is possible except truth. "The simple truth". There is nothing simple about truth in so far as I can discern.
xxxx"I have seen them at close of day". 1
xxxxThat large Rembrandt self portrait in the Frick.
xxxxThe small Goya etching self-portrait.
xxxxMozart's 40th.

xxxxWhat in heaven's name do they have in common? Beauty? Revelation? Gravitas? And what does it take to do it?

xxxxI'm getting ahead of myself.

xxxxIf I try to describe one of the dumb shows, I cannot. Instead of trying to should I just proceed to paint? I think so. I think we both believe in a visual intuition. This horse wants to run.

xxxxLove, D

(proceed to paintings)

Notes 1, Opening line, slightly misquoted, from 'Easter, 1916', a poem by William Butler Yeats.