My years at Columbia, in Prentis Hall in the painting and sculpture department made it possible for me
to be in an intellectual environment in the major city with the highly verbal as well as the highly nonverbal;
to be in a place apart from the art scene but near enough, a bit ivory towerish, small like a family, but serious and highly expectant;
to hear Meyer Shapiro and Margaret Mead and sit with Guston and Vicente;
to make prints in Tony Harrison's unpretentious etching studio (so much like a basement);
to have both the ivory tower of Dodge Hall and the gruff reality of 125th Street;
to find a Morandi-loving faculty, pointing the way to the classical without hitting me over the head with it;
to receive encouragement in spite of an expressionist pea brain that could not yet retain the classical;
to experience the warmth and compassion of Leon Goldin's years of leadership;
to encounter in David Lund a passion for exchanging ideas so infectious I hungered to become articulate about art and practiced with him as often as possible.
This environment provided me a place to have friends, to work, to build a New York life, to have a flood of experience of art and of people, a good start.
What does it mean to be sovereign? It means to live as a sovereign people, to have no king, to vote. This is still a relatively new concept on earth-a sovereign people. It is difficult to grasp, let alone remember and build. It is a work in progress, an expression of the natural desire to be free, working as a force in history.
Rather than the classical draftsmanship of history painting, I go with color composition, ragged strokes, architecturally constructed space and form to express the unexpectedness and the roughness of our experiences of self-rule and of our relationships in family, in neighborhood, and in the larger community.
My paintings in oil on canvas and paper depict figures caught unaware in events, large and small. These images are drawn from autobiography, anthropology, and history. Round and round I go, seeking the psychological position from which to evoke this subject: a nonverbal story of us.