I scrutinize my subjects in order to give them presence in my painting. When presence is heightened, what is absent becomes clearer. The very silence and stillness of still life is corrupted by the potential for sound and movement. The objectivity and super-specificity of a portrait opens the door, ironically, to the abstractness of human experience. When ideas and possibilities are suppressed, the residue becomes potential. The act of making becomes a type of negation. Negation creates potential, and potential is freedom.