Artist Statement

 

My studio is a refuge where I delight in the immediacy and messy, visceral process of making mixed media paintings. Each composition takes shape through a kind of “call and response” process – a dynamic, intimate conversation between the canvas and the materials I work into it: thin and saturated layers of paint; drips and washes; scribbles and scratches; collage fragments from discarded paintings as well as written words and graphic elements taken from journals, sketchbooks and the detritus of daily life.

In my paintings I explore the idea of “sense of place” and all its myriad layers of meaning. What has evolved is a kind of mapping of my life experience that has both geographic and psychological dimensions to it, where internal and external meld. Forms take shape that hold emotional meaning for me — horizons, openings and portals, bridges and border crossings; nests, bowls and vessels. 

My work as a painter has evolved alongside two other central aspects of my life: my work as a documentary filmmaker and my experience as the mother of a child (now a grown woman) with a developmental disability. As a filmmaker, I’ve explored different approaches to visual story telling that have influenced my more abstract work as a painter. As a mom, I’ve been immersed in the world of non-verbal learning and communication, fascinated by the mysterious process of language acquisition and the ways in which language informs intelligence, perception, and meaning. This experience has been a driving force in my development as an abstract painter. 

In recent years I have been developing a body of work (Beyond Measure) using collage materials drawn from years of accumulated educational and aptitude tests, work sheets, homework, and my daughter’s marks and artwork. Working with these materials as collage elements is a cathartic process through which I reclaim, deface and repurpose the ripped and torn fragments into new constellations, giving them their own unique artistic presence while adding another layer of personal content to the work.

In addition to the many varied artists whose work I have studied and been inspired by, I was greatly influenced by the late Leigh Hyams, my mentor, teacher and friend for over twenty years. Leigh’s greatest gift to me was nurturing an insatiable joy and curiosity about art, and cultivating an ability to see the art in everything – shapes in the negative space between tree limbs and the beautiful lines in sidewalk cracks; the variety and vibrancy of colors in dirt and vegetables; the temperature of light. I’m guided by this enhanced perception and “visual language” in my studio practice.

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