Ocean Paintings

Pictured above: 49th Parallel / Oil on Canvas / 46 x 60’’ and Middle Bank / Oil on Canvas / 54 x 48’’

Mapped, the sea is often depicted as empty space or a wash of solid blue. Historically, maps have marked oceans with language for their successors to discover and claim or distract from the lack of knowledge with monsters and decorative script. A transcontinental ocean voyage carries the narrative journeys of children eager to explore, families looking for better lives, and monarchs looking for power and resources. In its visual form, a blank sea carries the same effect for me as a blank page, innocent and malleable. While oceans may be depicted as neutral or supportive to the wishes and claims projected onto it, it is an indifferent, powerful force in its own right. The human body made meek when confronted with the scale of the sea, perhaps a natural occurring check and balance in this narrative. This body of paintings draws from a variety of source material, such as the systematic coding of NOAA charts, age of exploration and predating European maps, classic fiction with ocean settings, the Bellman’s perfect blank map from Lewis Carrol’s Hunting of the Snark, and my personal experiences growing up near the Pacific Ocean.