The botanical motifs in these paintings are derived from studies of leaves collected in tropical rainforests and sketched in their natural environment. The leaves selected for study are those approaching a state of decay, just yielding to voluptuous gesture. In the studio, only a partial segment of the study is selected and transferred onto a large canvas. This shift to a macroscopic focus draws emphasis to the leaves’ sinuous undulations and hidden recesses, amplifying the sense of tapping into subtle anthropomorphic signals, deepening contemplation. In this context, any allusion to classical botanical representation is diminished.
The antiquated patinas of some of these paintings make reference to the Old World, suggestive of trading cloths, maps forgotten in tombs, parchment. An expanse of rambling craquelure leads to reflections on chance, imperfection and temporality. The random nature of erosion is welcomed; its seasoned effects and the elements at play are seen as enriching influences. To seal the ambience of time-honored ruin, a coat of paste resist and natural dye is applied over parts or all of the painting and left to desiccate under a hot sun.
The symmetrical border patterns and “infinite” repeat design in some of these paintings are influenced by memories of embellished manuscripts, Mughal miniatures, and the intricate decorative temple carvings of SE Asia and Eurasia imbued with the nuances of devotion of that time. Katazome, a cut-stencil design technique is used in select paintings to render the more intricate repeat design pattern.