Spindrift and Tether (2013)

Notes & Sources


1) None of these paintings could exist without Emery Blagdon and, more specifically, without his sculptures that he called “healing machines.”  I love the idea of art as a healing machine: this somewhat shamanistic idea of the power of the object for healing through encounter.

2) The Josh Ritter song “Another New World” has been floating through my head for many months now as I’ve worked on these paintings and drawings.  His song about an explorer heading off to search for “another new world, at the top of the world” is something that I just can’t shake.

3) Andrei Tarkovsky’s movie Stalker tells of another journey to a “new world” and has always been a leading light for my thoughts about exploration, journey, and mystery.

4) Filmmaker David Lynch says, “secrets and mysteries provide a beautiful corridor where you can float out.  The corridor expands and many, many wonderful things can happen… I love the process of going into mystery.”  I’ve especially been thinking of this idea in relation to my new charcoal drawings.  To me they feel like enigmatic little fairy tales where something is a little off, where there is a mystery to be explored or a secret code to be deciphered.  I am most interested in artwork where the viewer is given space to dream and where things may never fully resolve.



Josh Ritter’s song “Another New World” from the album So Runs the World Away (2010)

Brian Eno’s album Ambient 1/ Music for Airports (1978)


Andrei Tarkovsky’s Stalker (1979)

Wong Kar-wai’s 2046 (2004)

Fiction Books

Phillip Pullman’s The Golden Compass (1995)

Shane Jones’s Light Boxes (2010) 

Non-Fiction Books

Claudia Schmuckli’s Amy Sillman: Suitors and Strangers (2007)

John Yau’s Bill Jensen Paintings (2007)

Bjorn Landstrom’s The Ship (1961)

Robert Hughes’s Amish: The Art of the Quilt (1990)




Healing Machine Paintings  (2012)


The genisis for these paintings is Emery Blagdon’s work, and more specifically, his sculptures that he called “healing machines.”  Blagdon believed that his sculptures helped to generate an electromagnetic energy that could alleviate pain and prevent—and perhaps even cure—disease.  I first encountered Blagdon’s work in 2007 at the Kohler Art Center and was completely overwhelmed by the power of his life’s work all displayed in one room.  A few years later I started to make paintings that played off of these structures and have been creating variations ever since.

As I’ve continued these paintings of a central scaffolding or armature, which may resemble a tower, circus tent, or bird cage, I’ve come across many other examples of this same archetype: from inventions by naturalist John Muir, to African art, to Midwestern grain silos.  The form, somewhere between a living thing and a machine, is still somewhat of a mystery to me—not totally organic and not totally synthetic, not fully abstract and not completely representational either.  I embrace this mystery and continue to dig deeper into the possibilities of these paintings.  I love the idea of art as a healing machine: this somewhat shamanistic idea of the power of the object for healing through encounter.

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