I paint in response to place. The paintings present observations, awareness and feelings experienced in particular locations. My reactions to each place are complex and visceral. The paintings present more than what I see. The topography’s physical and visual attributes inspire a palette of color and of form. Sound motion, weather, memory and mood become part of my exploration.

The "Site" paintings on canvas evolved from watercolors created as I traveled to varied locations. The watercolors, although abstracted, linked strongly to traditional landscape paintings. This link is still evident in the later work but, as I explored more deeply, the paintings began to reflect more of my inner response to the places.

The trapezoidal shape had appeared in paintings on canvas and was often an elemental form in my watercolors. I found resonance in the mysterious figurative forms in southwest rock art and the architectural keystones in ancient stone arches. In some of my work the trapezoid form has the rounded corners of a rear-view mirror or the irregular edges of a jutting rock formation. As those shapes came forward in the imagery, it seemed inevitable that the canvas should take that shape as I began to paint the series of "Site" paintings. I am still working with this shape. I have not finished this exploration of connections between the past and the present, the conscious and unconscious.

As I wander in search of evocative places, I am struck by the feeling that certain places seem sentient. The sites have power and energy that, if encouraged by attention, transfer to me as I explore. Sometimes the energy comes from natural forces—the thrust of rock from volcanic or glacial activity—the tension of strong wind and high seas. Sometimes I find natural forms that have been spiritualized by ritual signs left by ancient peoples. I find this energetic force in surprising places—in a Spanish steeple marking hours with ringing bells, in the converging forms of wet rooftops that reverberate with a horn-player’s sweet practice. The sites are, in essence, where I am and what I am while there.

—Elizabeth Strasser