I’ve been obsessed with painting bears this year. When I was a young teenager, a black bear regularly visited our mountain home, eating the dog’s food on the back deck. The bear was trapped and relocated as it had became too comfortable with us human neighbors.
And our careless human ways with food and trash were corrupting the bear. One morning it leaned up against the sliding glass door enough that the frame bent in towards the house. It stood down before there was any breakage. Recalling sitting in the living room and looking up to see a black bear’s belly pushed against the sliding glass door lodged in my mind as an iconic memory.
Since that time I’ve seen bears occasionally in my travels and outdoor activities. They always fascinate and frighten me when I’ve been close to them. The times I was close enough to look into the eyes of the wild bear I felt I was seeing into another universe.
These new paintings play with those memories. The space of the painting is mostly in two layers: a surface layer that is flat and the other visual layer that the figure of the bear occupies is one-dimensionally painted. As much as I like the visual and intellectual play of space, the metaphorical meaning is my motivation to paint the bears with this interplay of visual space. The sensation of two universes separating our beings, two types of understanding that we as humans can only imagine.