Drawing is at the core of my artistic practice, whether it be with traditional tools such as charcoal, gesso and graphite; marks unfurled from birch plywood with woodcarving tools; or shapes built up layer by layer with up-cycled yarn made from printing scraps and re-purposed worn clothes and bedding. Combined with fabric collage that is akin to quilting, my process allows for endless creation, destruction, and reconfiguration, giving me ultimate flexibility in the arrangement of forms and compositions. I am taken in by the allure of layered fabrics, printed from carved birch plywood with dense black ink, cut apart, and stitched together in new structures with bright embroidery thread. I like to approach creation indirectly, with many steps along the way, which allows for a great deal of flexibility and indecision.
My fabric collage creations as best understood as “quilted prints,” though the appliqué stitching process can take the work in many directions with the addition of stuffing, three-dimensional explorations, and the incorporation of found fabrics, lace, seed pearls, and other ephemera. Though I generally work large scale, the addition of silkscreened mark making to my quilted prints allows me to scale down my mark making, adding detail and intimacy to the work.
Any scraps from my process are re-purposed into my “Foot prints,” crocheted low-relief sculptures that embody the form of clouds/spills/storms, leaving little to no waste behind. Minimizing waste is essential to my work conceptually, as it combines an exploration feminist and family body politics with an investigation into environmental, often man-made catastrophes.
Specialized Artist Statements for Particular Bodies of Work
My current series of “Hair Ghosts” started in response to the challenge of relearning to draw after having a baby. Beginning with the form of smoke cloud or spill, the ghosts grow outwards from the figures and embody our histories, dreams and personalities. Hair itself, along with mammary glands, is one of the particular characteristics of what it means to be a mammal, and human hair patterns and styles have evolved for survival and are socially and religiously significant. Some cultures even believe hair is our connection to cosmic forces, and a symbol of freedom, health, and independence. By morphing the hair into a form of its own, it rebels against our control, being as it is merely long strands of dead proteins. The doilies express a complex femininity with notes of ritual, while also emulating the shape of hair follicles, and mimicking the function of a mandala: a centering, mental and spiritual process of journey without taking a single step.
Foot Prints Crochet
Dark clouds, plumes, and projection maps are the rising stars in our daily intake of news media. My work investigates these brumes and billows formally as well as analyzing their participation in a discussion about the future of this planet. Mankind’s false sense of control over natural resources leaves us vulnerable to nature’s powerful acts of reclamation: hurricanes, floods and the ground sinking beneath our feet. I explore the relationship between man and environment through events close to my personal experience such as Hurricane Katrina; the BP oil spill in the Gulf; and other contemporary political and ecological catastrophes.
Accompanying the prints, I create collections of crocheted pieces called Foot Prints. These large, low relief fabric sculptures are assembled from printed scraps as well as repurposed clothing. The pluming shapes of the Foot Prints mirror Doppler images of monstrous weather conditions, encroaching on the tenuous infrastructures of cities and ecosystems. The depiction of dangerous substances and serpentine weather systems functions as a reoccurring image throughout the work–as setting, victim and protagonist.
Flocking to the Pump
Trials & Tributaries
A love of drawing and an obsession with mapping are central to my process. I use a combination of text and image to form a dense visual architecture. The diagrammatic and information map formats that inspire my compositions have fueled my work in a visual fiction genre of my own invention: Contemporary Creative Nonfictions. The process of research is integral to my practice. My drawings incorporate samples from the literature that inspires my work-magical realist fiction, mythological narratives, and my own pseudo-fictional parables. In addition, I investigate recent historical documents, diagrams of weather systems, and newsfeeds. Together, these resources form dense Story Maps, which I often silkscreen directly into the borders of my drawings. The narratives are drawn, screen printed and/or sculpted into woodcut prints on repurposed bed sheet fabrics, appliqué stitched together to form colorful, layered surfaces.
The characters in my narrative prints include hybrid monsters drawn from local fauna combined with contemporary political figures and my own presence, which signifies a question of personal involvement in the planet’s present predicament. The figures’ corporeal forms as well as their sensibilities are informed through a study of Greek and other mythological narratives. Animal-human hybrids function in my work as stand-ins for the evolution of man under extreme pressure and sudden environmental change. These modified beastly forms embody the human desire to personify animals in our environment as a way to empathize with and understand them.