In the fall of 1999, I was a guest artist in residence at the West Island School in Hong Kong. Living in Wan Chai, painting in a studio in Pokfulam, overlooking Lamma Island and the South China Sea. It was one of the most defining and influential times of my life.
I quickly discovered that Hong Kong was another world and a city of extremes. One day I happened upon a store called King and Country that sold exquisite hand-painted metal miniature figures, each more intricate than the next. There were hundreds of different genres represented, everything from the military to vehicles to model aircraft to buildings, but the ones I was most drawn to were a series titled the China Imperial Set. There were 14 figures in the collection and I purchased all of them. They have been with me ever since.
The title of this exhibition is an homage to these figurines. Drawing from nature has always brought me an intense quantity of colour and has had a profound impact on the vocabulary of my painting. Nature, painting in my new studio and these Chinese figurines have come together in “14” to inspire me to continue to push myself beyond what I know. I have always found that once I have chosen a theme for a collection, the work flows at a surprising rate. In “14″ I have furthered my understanding and unravelling the equation of painting while adding elaborate patterning and a playful sense of whimsy, while paying homage to the Chinese culture.
Nothing is the beginning, nothing is the end, it is all part of an incredible journey.