I painted Dry River Bed 24 years ago while I was living in Tempe, AZ and attending grad school at Arizona State University. This was my first exposure to the bleached, arid desert landscape of the area.
This painting came out of the experience of walking around in the bed of the Salt River, which dries up completely on a seasonal basis. During the rainy season, the river collects all sorts of random items, which are then exposed when the water recedes. I used to collect interesting bits of wood and other objects, and there was a always slightly disturbing feeling, wondering what else I might come across. The style of the painting is typical of my surrealist approach at the time and reflects the dreamlike aspect of this landscape.
The narrative aspect of the work comes from my current perspective—I’m not at all sure what I’d have said about this painting when I did it. My work has evolved since then in a very different direction--towards abstraction, with much richer color and texture--though an interest in landscape remains.