Percolating the Void

Cover of the Winter 2010 issue of The Georgia Review


A portfolio of my paintings is being featured in the current issue of The Georgia Review.  Mindy Wilson, the Managing Editor, wrote a thoughtful introduction to my work, with the fine title of “Percolating the Void.”  The Georgia Review has also published an interview with me online (you can read the first couple of paragraphs below).  The issue also contains writing by George Singleton, Jack Driscoll, and a great poem by Albert Goldbarth. It's a great issue—and I'm not just saying that because my work is in it.

MW: You grew up in the Pacific Northwest but have spent much of your life studying the art and culture of China. In what ways have these two very different (but in some ways culturally and physically connected) spaces influenced and figured into your art-making?

IB: I grew up in an estuary on the Oregon coast, a really magical place. It was shadowed to the north by a huge headland; there were stands of old growth trees and wide-open meadows, this little river where I loved to fish, brutal winter storms, and the constant presence of the Pacific Ocean. I didn't have any brothers or sisters, and I was the only kid around for miles, so I wandered through this environment and spent a lot of time in my own head—my own form of meditation. As a child, I encountered quite a bit of Asian culture, which has had a considerable influence on the Pacific Northwest, especially on artists like Morris Graves, Mark Tobey, Hilda Morris. I was exposed to their work at a young age. In our own house, we had this giant scroll of Bodhidharma (a fifth-century monk who introduced Zen to China) that haunted one corner.

Read the rest of the interview here.