Nashville’s obscure landmarks, urban reference points, and geology have informed my work and provide the abstract structure for the paintings featured in this show. These paintings are not restricted to chronology and are aware of many different times at once. My work began with a casual search for images and ideas by drawing on online resources and from brief impressions of the Dickerson Pike area where I live. As this work progressed, I had the good fortune to come across Paul Clements’ book Chronicles of the Cumberland, a collection of letters and first-hand accounts of the people who lived in the Nashville area during the tumultuous early years of the territory. As I read about the struggles and stories of these late-eighteenth-century inhabitants, a deeper understanding of Nashville allowed my work to be in influenced by older memories and the specific histories of the places I pass through on a daily basis.
Several of the paintings in Fragmentary Survey incorporate drawings based on the local environment. Tree House and The New, Old Forest reference the large, hollow sycamore tree in which Bigfoot Spencer, one of Middle Tennessee’s first white settlers, lived one winter. Meander Corner is influenced by the stories of early surveyors imposing order and geometry over an untamed wilderness. There is a definite conceit when a contemporary abstract painting refers to the past. At best the work will engage the audience through an elaborate metaphor and create a conversation that expands their knowledge of this specific area while helping to orient the viewer in a local, ongoing history.