In January of 2006, I served as the official photographer for Brown University's archaeological excavations near the Great Pyramids of Giza, Egypt.
I found myself unexpectedly transfixed by a collection of small wooden carvings in one particular glass case of the Cairo Museum. These exquisite little figures had the bearing of royal servants, and far from being generic, they each exhibited individual personalities. I became haunted by their poignancy, tenderness, vulnerability, and auras of benevolent calm. They felt alive and sentient. I later learned that they were probably created as reserve bodies for the soul, in the event that their mummies were destroyed.
When I returned to New York, I began a body of work rooted in the memory of their presences. Although I occasionally refer back to my photographs, I allow each figure to dictate its own development through countless metamorphoses, sandings, scrapings, and re-applications of paint, until a “right” presence finally emerges. I like the fact that I never know exactly "who" will actually appear in the final painting.