Discreet Objects (2017 to date)
My current work explores the gray area between painting and sculpture as well as the concept of concealment. Soft fabrics like velour or velvet invite touch, but they are constricted by excessive wrapping with hemp and rough jute, implying that a painted bundle should not be opened. Playing with textural juxtapositions is not unlike keeping, or telling, a secret. We bind a secret to ourselves or to a confidante. We carry its weight. We delight in the private intimacy shared with a lover, feel relief in unburdening transgressions, or tie up some of our mysteries tighter and tighter until they never see the light of day.
Process is very important to me, and as the artist, I enjoy the variety of tactile materials used in making this work. Foam beneath fabric is molded to near bursting and provides the body of what lies hidden. Acrylic paint and sometimes charcoal play a supporting role on each surface, but their movement is hampered by the fabric’s tooth and rapid absorption. Pigment is upstaged by the linear qualities of the twine or the peek of fabric. For some pieces, additional materials like bird wings are added. Some include no paint at all. Making these pieces, even the small ones, is very physical. Repeated circling of string or rope pulled taut becomes ritual. While creating, I am thinking of Chiharu Shiota, Eva Hesse, Anselm Kiefer, Christo, and Elizabeth Murray, among others.
Even though my wrapped works are about restraint and mysterious things, much consideration is given to their titles. Descriptive naming offers viewers a glimpse into my intentions and invites their personal interpretations on what I’ve hidden and revealed.
Text-Based Paintings (2009 to date) - Video
On Using Text
I am the keeper of stories. My family’s stories. Those told to me by friends or people I barely know. Some I know are true. Others, I’m not so sure. But I use the words, rehash and rework them and strip them down to the bone, then build the sentences up again, layers upon layers representing the feeling of a story I know.
The act of remembering and sharing stories is a powerful thing to me. Just as the passage of time creates layers of experiencing — the remembering of an event, the misremembering of it, the distancing, the forgetting — my coats of color washes and texture become a lens through which I share my cache of stories, and invite viewers to reflect upon their own.
On Using Numbers
Instead of letting numbers play their true role as keepers of concrete, tangible things, I pull them onto visual stages, force them into new roles, give them personalities, and assign them new values. They become representations of emotions and displays of made-up data that describe relationships, missed connections, and bonds needed or unwanted. They become us.
Hidden story fragments embedded in the painting influence the palette and mark-making to capture small slices of time, like journal entries exposed in a visual format. Clusters of numbers provide a snapshot of connectivity, or a record-keeping process for some unknown or intangible thing. Acrylic washes are added then partially removed in areas using my hands or cloth. The process is physical, often using both hands. Paintings incorporating numbers often include cotton twine sewn through the canvas with long stitches to reinforce the idea of connectivity, or lack of it. When viewers step in front of my work, I’m inviting them to bring their baggage to the experience, and my process aims to give my paintings a history as well.
The Distance Between (2011 to date)
For people who see the world in black and white, in absolutes, the distance between is irrelevant. You either are or you aren’t. You either do or do not. A white lie is just as bad as life in prison. They can’t appreciate the gradual descent, the slow, silent slide into a different state of being. For those of us who can see the grays, the distance between is viewed as a continuum where one can shift left or right, up or down. We may not realize our movement along the line, between the planes, until it's too late to change what we've become.
These works in acrylic and charcoal on wood panels represent my personal distances between two or more concepts fixed in time. Using rope to tether paintings closely together or to force a large space between other pairings creates a concrete, physical measurement of the emotional distances between each word in my life and invites viewers to consider where these intersections occur in their own.