My nephew, when he was six, invented a place he calls Blue Other World. It’s a place that appears identical to our world, only strange things can happen without warning. In Blue Other World, my nephew can open a door in his chest and pull out a glass of orange juice. He can tickle his house and it will laugh. And of course, he can fly.
Children understand this vague boundary between what we perceive and what we cannot. They have no trouble believing in another world that is hidden, but nonetheless exists.
We can sense the products of our work and the things we build, because they manifest quantifiable stuff. Yet the forces that drive us to create are invisible. How do you measure determination? How much does courage weigh? Its transparent and unknowable.
Painting is a manifestation of these invisible forces, the physical capture of a fleeting, ghostly image in the artist’s perception. Clouds are real and sky is real and oil and pigment and canvas are all real. Just as real as the whims and ideas that drive them, though we cannot heft a whim or idea in our hands.
When I started painting the series of work that is Atmospheres, I thought I was painting sky. But I came to understand these are not pictures of vapor and wind. They are snapshots of the boundary between the visible and the invisible.