Information > Statement
Experience is never limited and it is never complete; it is an immense sensibility, a kind of huge spiderweb of the finest silken threads suspended in the chamber of consciousness and catching every airborne particle in its tissue. -Henry James
I am drawn to loss, the void within an abandoned area or individual. The void is at once vacant, yet heavy; dark, yet hopeful; lifeless, yet highly charged; silent and yet resonant with the voices of the past. The hushed energy of the void surrounded by what remains, simultaneously puts into context the past, present and future. The existence of ruins or remnants-whether born through violence, vulnerability or time, provide an arena for growth, restoration and a unique perspective of historical change.
What remains after loss is residue, scraps-items that collect in the corners of our living spaces and psyche-memories that serve as surrogates to the past. In combination with paint, I use materials such as wood, paper, textiles and human hair combined in layers with processes such as encaustic, stitch, collage, scorching, rust and plant staining to reflect on the intimacy of memory, the awareness of mortality and spiritual growth through loss.
Using landscape as inspiration, connection and metaphor, my interest is in the exploration of human interaction and psyche-the navigation of the line between what is hidden and revealed to others. Real and imagined stories exploring inner demons, desires and vulnerabilities of the human mind fuel my work. The consequence of revealing what is hidden can be both a dream and a nightmare, causing a chain reaction gamut of emotions ranging from anguish to exhilaration. The amalgamation of these intense emotions and the simultaneous existence of danger and seduction within the earth and the body is what I investigate through my work.
Recent paintings begin with the process of digitally layering photographs I have taken on hikes in the deserts of Utah, Wyoming, Idaho and other western states. I’m particularly interested in the otherworldly forms, raw terrain and evidence of struggle so prevalent in the desert. Through manipulation and drawing in Photoshop, these digital studies are translated into actual paintings utilizing layers of encaustic or acrylic paint. Before painting, I burn intricate grid patterns into the wooden panels using heated metal objects and pyrography tools. The grid references landscape and mapping as well as the healing qualities of fire. Once these marks are covered with paint, only hints of them remain, affecting the surface only slightly like fading scars. Layer upon layer of paint is added, portions are scraped away, incised into and more paint is reapplied. The process of adding and stripping away is repeated until a suitable composition is achieved. Later, collaged fragments of found images are added and act as another form of paint as well as trigger memory and create personal connections for the viewer. As the painted and collaged layers accumulate, patterns begin to fuse, splinter and regenerate, acting as a metaphor for the volatility and vulnerability found in the relationships between earth and humankind and between humans themselves.
The found wood series begins with discarded wood taken from dumpsters, trash piles and abandoned buildings. The wood itself exhibits distressed markings-evidence of the human hand through use, age or environment. I respond to these markings with repetitive patterns utilizing the process of branding with tools and scorching with an open flame. To me, fire represents the complete cycle of life-it breaths, eats, grows and dies. While it can be extremely destructive, fire can actually create life through this destruction by it’s cleansing of the land. Completing the connection to life, I utilize my own hair, which is ironed, strand-by-strand and transformed into lines placed side by side, crisscrossed into grids and finally embedded in wax. As they trace the form of the wood, these gridded drawings create connections between landscape, architecture and the body as well as the history of the object. Through this repetitive process, I reflect on time, the tenuous nature of life and human relationships, as well as my own mortality.
The constructed and sewn drawings begin with discarded materials collected from city streets, abandoned homes and lots, paper from recycling bins as well as the scraps and remains generated from my own studio practice. The act of stitching these materials together gives each piece its structure as well as its life. My great grandmother was a professional seamstress and taught me to sew and embroider at an early age; needle and thread became expressive tools for me even before crayons. There is safety in the repetitive process of stitching, of knowing what comes next and I am able to communicate thoughts that cannot be spoken, to mend mistakes, and to momentarily fill the void created through personal loss. Drawing with a sewn line adds tactility, dimension and depth to the surfaces of these disparate materials as well as creates personal connections related to the body, intimate spaces and home.