Below are drawings and paintings made in the month of February. It has been a cold month in Cleveland, Ohio. The news cycle has been dominated by Russia’s occupation of Ukraine. I have continued to make drawings from a behavioral day treatment center where I work. My paintings continue to be a source of solace and frustration. Several life drawing sessions had to be canceled due to inclement weather but otherwise this practice continues as well.
I am an artist-in-residence at PEP Hopewell. As mentioned above, PEP Hopewell is a behavioral day treatment facility that has been around Cleveland for around 50 years. Broadly speaking, student’s are referred to PEP after exhausting options within their districts.
At PEP, we are trained in various ways to regulate student behavior. Often, and ideally, our student’s maladaptive behavior can be replaced with appropriate behavior by changing a triggering condition. The reality is something different and often less simple. We are working through a lot of pain, absurdity; often this is the result of generations of vulnerability and hardship. To see beyond this condition and orient toward a more hopeful outcome is a daily struggle. This has something to do with my artistic effort as well.
As a visual artist I try to put myself in a relational field – part of an ecology of thought and behavior. This is to say that I try to listen and understand. Drawing is a tool, a technology, that helps me observe. I use a pencil and paper to notate my observations.
I continue to think of my paintings as etudes – small lyrical compositions, exercises in visual pattern seeking. At times, a painting offers a glimpse toward something more – something poetic and even artful. I do not put too much value into this, however. Right now, I simply want to remain open to the act of painting.