"Ways to Zero," acrylic o/canvas w/painted tiles, 30˝x27˝. Ferkel Collection.
The notion of utilizing tiles first occurred to me when I was working on a small portrait of the late arts advocate Hendrik Stooker. Since he was a countryman from the Netherlands, it seemed like tiles painted in the traditional Dutch Delft blue manner might make a good fit. I liked the way the paint laid down on the shiny hard surface, and that the tiles could be baked to heat-set the paint. It encouraged more fluidity than the canvas and paper to which I was accustomed.
Many of these pieces are comprised of a central painting on canvas encircled by pictorial tiles. The core image states the theme and creates context in order to initially engage a viewer, while the illuminated tiles offer an opportunity for sustained looking and for the content to unfold in something approaching a narrative fashion. Illustrated margins, or remarques, of the 19th century French printmaker Félix Buhot proved inspirational, as did antique illuminated manuscripts. The format provides a reliable stylistic framework to advance wide-ranging themes, some political, some observational, some personal.
Most importantly, I hope they are aesthetically satisfying.