I refer to the quote above--from a beloved former professor--to point out to the viewer that simply because I painted these pictures doesn't mean I understand them. While I certainly have specific ideas about these images, you are invited to make your own interpretation. Just because your conclusions don't match mine, doesn't mean that I'm right and you're wrong.
The subjects of these pictures are biblical stories. I am not a believer of Scripture in the specific sense of being a Christian, but I find the stories of the Old and New Testament powerful and captivating. I'm also drawn to this subject because of the place these stories hold in the history of Western art. From the Middle Ages through the Renaissance through the Baroque, the artists of each era have re-interpreted Christian mythology for the audience of their day. By painting these traditional subjects, one goal I have is to place the modern viewer in the continuum of art history. Much of art in the 20th century has tried to sever bonds with the centuries--even the decades--of the past. In this world of perpetual change (or at least perpetual novelty), I find myself wishing for a little more connectedness.
I also hope to connect to viewer--both to the historical continuity of art and to the subjects of the paintings themselves--by setting these scenes in the contemporary world. In the Renaissance, a painter like Fra Angelico did not attire the Virgin Mary in the garb of 1st century Judea, but rather in the dress of the painter's day. This, it seems to me, puts the viewer in a very intimate relationship with the paintings. The world of the viewer becomes the very world where these miracles of faith take place. In that way, the world is transformed.
I found inspiration for these works in part from James Joyce's novel Ulysses. In the novel, Leopold Bloom wanders around early 20th century Dublin, never realizing that he is reenacting the adventure of Odysseus in a modern setting, and never seeing himself as the hero of the novel that he really is. Likewise, every one of these works is open to a totally secular interpretation. The Shadowy Figure in my Calling of St. Matthew might just be a vagrant bumming for change. What I call an Annunciation might rather depict the unanticipated impact of a jammed window on an oversensitive suburban teen. But with these paintings, I wish to suggest that perhaps beneath the surface of our lives, there is another narrative taking place; a recurrent mythology of which we are all a part, whether we realize it or not.
If you would like to read more about the individual paintings and the stories they illustrate, please read the notes in my folder.