October 13 - November 10, 2018
“I am a forest, and a night of dark trees: but he who is not afraid of my darkness, will find banks full of roses under my cypresses.” Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra
A life in parts or a play in three acts (with numerous scenes)
Prologue I am a person made up of many parts, stages, phases, acts,movements and histories. My art reflects all of this. Since I was a young child, I have been drawing and painting. My childhood home was filled with art, music, and delicious food to feed the spirit. We were a family that created things. If we weren’t painting and drawing, we were singing and performing stories and plays. My life has been filled with beauty, and I was taught at a young age by my mother that beauty could be found anywhere and everywhere. I look for patterns and designs,how they organize us and keep us interconnected. In my work, I have been fascinated with finding systems that provide structure and craft order out of chaos. I have always been attracted to both rich,densely overgrown areas of nature as well as the unadorned landscape. But it is just the ordinary everyday scene that I see out my windows that captivate me. I like looking out at the mundane common place views that I pass by everyday, all those images that weave and embroider the fabric and soul of my life. I bring a sketchbook wherever I travel. I look hard, observe closely, and easily find something that intrigues me-whether it is a pile of weeds or an ornate baroque crystal chandelier. Because in the end, it is all made up a myriad of forms,light, shade, movement and color. And there is beauty to be found wherever I look.
Act 1 Screened in These are a series of paintings that I have been working on while looking through my studio windows, either through actual screens, panes of glass, or curtains. I believe there is a screen or filter through which we perceive all we look at. The screen is a frame that allows me to organize space, flatten it, and impose a grid upon it. A screen can also be a real physical material,or it can be falling snow, rain, or a growth of trees or vegetation. A screen may be just paint, a visual field which can obscure or blur our vision. The effects of a screen can be from the weather, rain, sleet, snow, fog or it can be a screen that is photographic. It could be from the computer, television,movie or internet, a pixelated composition of the real world. It can be information displayed on an electronic surface, or it could be pictures that are projected or reflected. I like to see the screen as both literal and metaphorical. We spend much of our time looking into a screen of our computer and phone, writing emails, documents, reading and watching videos. A screen may be a barrier that covers or disguises the true nature of the thing itself, ad this can be feelings, ideas, and activities. I like to think of my screen paintings as being permeable with an exchange of air and light yet they also protect and shield me.
Act 2 Chandeliers This work was inspired by the baroque and rococo architecture and interiors that I visited in the Muslim, Christian and Jewish religious spaces in Egypt and Mexico. I started drawing and painting them during a particularly dark time in my life, when I was trying to find lightness within the dark. I was drawn to chandeliers within these sacred spaces, observing patterns and forms opening and closing, expanding and contracting, pulsating and bursting, growing and dying, layering and peeling, pushing, questioning, all with a sense of play. In this way, I experimented with a wide range of materials such as paints, papers, glues, bleach, ashes, powders, sprays, brushes, oils, solvents and varied organic materials. Through this process, decay, growth, accident and transformation was examined and revealed. I also discovered that light can always be found, even if it is just a sliver.
Act 3 Books The framework for this imagery is my relationship to outdoor spaces using the narrative of moving through an expanse in a panorama format. Using Japanese style accordion folded books I have been documenting parks, walks, places and things. I started this body of work when I was away from the studio and couldn’t paint and decided I could create my own studio practice within the pages of a book.
I draw in situ: the intensity of drawing connects me to the natural world in a visceral way. I like the unexpected quality of going for a walk and not knowing where it will take me, to be immersed in the environment. Drawing is the most personal and intimate way to connect to sounds, colors, wind, weather, birds, insects, trees, flowers, water and sky with ultimate power and grace. The folding books allow me to mimic the panorama of movement and architecture of the walk. Much like a moving camera, I like to zoom in and out. The books fit in the palm of my hand but expand over eight feet long. They may capture a day’s, week’s or year’s experience but then can collapse to reveal a single moment. The acts of opening and closing the book, enfolding the pages, will provide the same sense of anticipation and not knowing that one encounters walking and exploring a new space. The viewer can also condense and juxtapose pages in the book to create one's own landscape. In the end, the book fits into a beautiful container, which is closed and encased, a virtual studio in a box.
Epilogue All of these bodies of work are ongoing. My artistic life moves laterally, not linearly, and is a back and forth process. This work has come out of a search for meaning, about finding a way to understand my place in the world, why I am here, and what is important and relevant while striving to lead a worthwhile life. Creating my art helps me to make sense of the world. It is also my way to say, remember me. This is the mark I would like to leave.