This collective portfolio entitled Betrothed represents pieces my wife and I have completed on our own and work we have done collaboratively. Themes explored in the associated exhibition are ones of of natural curiosity hinting upon elements of Romanticism and Transcendentalism fueled by heartfelt, mutual admiration for each other's work.
In our youths, both Amanda and I were reared in environments that encouraged travel, exploration of nature, studies of science and of other cultures. Each of our backgrounds in education includes practical sciences, sociology, literature and history in addition to the visual arts. These shared similarities, along with the fact we share a studio, have led to our interests converging in our art.
Amanda's studies of the environment can be seen in her love of natural specimens. Many of her works depict seedpods and plant life, but also include living creatures, particularly birds. Often these are miniscule items, enlarged in colored pencil and paint to mammoth proportions. Through this treatment her work celebrates the nuances of nature. "I tend to be attracted to the overlooked things in the environment," Amanda says. "I sometimes am more interested in items in the land rather than the landscape itself." Having also a degree in literature, Amanda is deeply influenced by the writings of Thoreau and Annie Dillard.
Like my wife, this vein of my work also is rooted in observations and experiences within nature, with subject matter ranging from trees and plant life to objects collected in museums. This body of work includes photography, collage, art journaling and sculpture, much of it evolving around meditations on a subject and the responding to these ponderings while composing in the studio. As with much of my work, the item addresses ceases to be an image of an object and becomes a tablet containing my impression of the thing combined with my mental, emotional state of being. Visually this quality is revealed through application of hand-written text and contrived optical effects.
Much like naturalists from a bygone era, my wife and I together infuse our artistic process with elements of research and study. This nature of inquiry can be seen in the jointly made cloches and book box assemblages. These glass jars and hollowed out books contain drawings, photographs, botanical specimens, fabric and found objects assembled together as tableaus revealing our shared observations. Other works we have made together include mixed-media pieces where each have traded the artwork back and forth stretching the development until mutual consensus is reached.