For the 13 years between 1984-1997 I produced a large body of work on the many and terrible themes of the Holocaust. At first I had depicted the destruction of a people; then I found I could allude to the genocide by showing the burning of the beautiful wooden synagogues of Eastern Europe. To an artist the systematic destruction of buildings, art works and artifacts is a particularly painful aspect of the destruction of a people. In some of these pictures I began to use animals as symbols of the soldiers and their victims. As the work evolved these creatures took on other identities until their meaning became less specific, the viewer was asked to complete the metaphor, to engage in the act of imagining. I remembered the way the huge symbolic vocabulary of animals had always had meaning for me (some of my earliest series of works involved the symbolic and archetypal resonance of animals). Now, by placing them within landscapes that are highly evocative but non-specific they function ambivalently. What looks playful or hopeful one moment begins to look sinister or foreboding the next; what looks powerful at first glance reveals itself to be vulnerable also.
These pictures use many art strategies to achieve a feeling of uneasiness. Animals are painted on a grid like format or lined up like soldiers. They are place upon gesturally painted landscape fields where paint is poured, tossed and swirled onto canvas. The animals, often heavily painted to contrast with the landscape, are simultaneously rivetted to and float above these fields. There are no shadows below them yet they do not disengage from the landscape. In many of these paintings, no matter where they are placed, the animal's size is the same throughout, defying the traditional rules of perspective. Oddly, they still seem to create space and acknowledge light. The skies, often heavily pigmented, are imagined and painted as an essential part of the drama-taking place below. Colour is used to create atmosphere and evoke feeling. Essentially these paintings both acknowledge and violate the landscape painting tradition. As with all my work the surface is important but there is much below it that intends to provoke thought and stir the emotions.