Yes, I really am painting garbage. I didn’t set out to paint garbage. I didn’t wake up one morning and say painting garbage would be a good thing to do. Instead, while walking near a friend’s house in Sasebo, Japan, I passed the recycling center. In it they were moving bales of recycled paper to prepare them for transport.
You see, I didn’t see the bales as garbage, but as a comment on art history, part of the continuum of image making. For me it carried everything from Lichtenstein’s cartoon paintings, to Jackson Pollock’s all-over composition.
Sometime later, on a trip to Maine I took the recyclables to the dump and nearly leaped from the car when I saw bales of crushed cans. Again there was the possibility of trompe l’oeil imagery, but with the crushed metal and shiny lids a new element was introduced – light and the reflection of the surrounding onto the surface of the cans.
I would not disallow a reading of these paintings as an environmental statement, but it was not where I was coming from when I landed on this imagery.