Group One (1990 - 1993)
It takes me back to the Caribbean. To where the heat burns my eyes and scorches my skin. There is a reverberating happiness in the colors and forms. I find all the pleasures of brilliant sun/rain, of people sitting on the edge of the equator in their vibrant gods, sharing the understandings of their hiddenness and space. For you portray part of them and a part of me, a large part of what the rest of the world cannot understand. Such a colorful power of existence. It stands out for me. It pushes me away and draws me in. It thrills and excites me. It is an outburst of free will. It is the color of my passionate Brazilian lover and all of her sex. It is an expression of boisterous life. It screams and shouts for breath and breathes a warmer air than easily flows around our existence. I embrace its warmth except that which keeps me at a distance. Maybe if I come closer I will be burnt by the heat.
Ramdo, Mtetwa, from What it All Means to Me.
This group is made up of hard edged color cells, patterned shapes which interlock, individuate and reassemble into a variety of images. Colors fight one another for a dominate place on the canvas as do the shapes. It is difficult to decide whether the shapes decide the color or whether the colors create the shapes. Its as if one has stepped from a three-dimensional box into a two-dimensional field and yet the complexity of seeing seems to have increased, regardless of the flatnessThe world is alive with an intensity of color that in the moment of a glance seems disturbingly facile. There is a rhythm though, a process of consumption, the roundness of a spinning into infinity, the movement of a drum. There are phantom eyes and grasping animals, peering out to pull one in. This is a child's world, constructed in primary simplicity and direct associations with now.
These paintings represent the terror that often accompanies the sense of finality or totality within an experience of freedom. For me these paintings are about letting go of contrived order, to find the inter connection and the animation in vision. They are the screams and struggles within each person as they become conscious that what keeps them from their personal truth is a continued need to make and keep value, to covet desires. These paintings can be strikingly beautiful and simultaneously they are cloying almost to the point of claustrophobia. Its as though in their solidity and angularity they seek to undermine or contradict the very possibility for their inherent fluidity. And yet their shapes merge and coalesce, working into a certain infinite cycle. They struggle to hold onto a meaning in their convolution. This group also offer a certain fearless voice. They contain a definite directed strength of purpose and as such their experience holds a certain stamp of energy - as exuberance.
I began these paintings during a very intense and revelatory period in my life; I was coming to terms with the endless and infinite aspects of my spiritual self. I was finding it difficult to hold onto all of my American dreams in the face of their transitive value. I was overwhelmed by the responsibility I was assuming as a consciously living individual. I was uncertain if anything existed on the other side of my process. Simultaneously I was struck again and again with the energy abounding in all things, I was struck by light, color and the fascinating interconnection of life. Its these feelings and experiences, mostly of fear and awe, that I have attempted to capture in this work.