My memories of Columbia crystallize around its contrasting environments-the rough urban environment of 125th Street near my Prentis Hall studio and the stately academic campus with its libraries and seminar rooms. My years at Columbia were important to me in developing work from landscape that combined direct observation with an understanding of painting based in Abstract Expressionism. Visiting critics George McNeil and Esteban Vicente were especially important to me in this regard, as were faculty members Leon Goldin and Tony Harrison. I also welcomed the opportunity to take art history courses with Meyer Shapiro; he provided me with a broad intellectual perspective on art, which I continue to develop in writing art criticism.
Early on in my training I felt the need to leave the studio, and the formal approach to painting cultivated there, to work outdoors in my immediate surroundings-beginning in New York City and continuing with explorations of iconic American landscapes in Maine, New Mexico and Yosemite. Now, I focus primarily on my everyday environment in Davis, California, which I document in drawings and interpret further in paintings and collages. My goal is to develop a personal plastic space that endows these mundane images with a higher order of expression. In the process, I bring European modernism into the American tradition of landscape. In seeking out my subjects I also draw on the sense of place involved in the poems of Charles Olson and the films of Stan Brakhage.