In the exhibition, Full Cycle, I document my experience observing and relating to Southern California native and non-native plants throughout 2018. Images are from all four seasons and illuminate a glimpse into a full yearly plant life-cycle. My focus on individual flowers allow me and those who view the work to experience wonder and mystery in the everyday natural world. One of the enormous threats of global warming is loss of natural habitat established in part by native flora included in these photos.
It is my intention that this exhibition help create a meditative experience with the small scale personal view of individual flowers. Morning light in many photos like the blossom Plumeria creates an elusive, delicate visual enclosure. Shots are from my Santa Monica apartment balcony, the Ballona Dunes, Kiss the Ground, a communal garden in Venice, and the Eternal Meadow at the Woodlawn Cemetery in Santa Monica. Visits to the cemetery were a catalyst for beginning to bring themes of green burial into the work.
There are many photos of the Milkweed Plant, which is food for the Monarch Butterfly. The red and orange blossoms are playful and inviting. A series of opening and unwinding seedpods documents the natural vitality and “tenacity” of this native after it goes to seed. The breeze will transport the delicate seeds to new growth sites.
Among other questions that arose during the year were “What is living? What is dormant? What is the nature of beauty at the end of flowers’ blossoming? What can I learn from these plants about opening, unfolding and eventual passing away?” Many images address questions regarding plants’ transitions. The Ballona Dunes image “Dormant” shows the bold, complex form of a plant that may be resting through a dry season or perhaps has waited too long for moisture to regenerate. Photos of fading blossoms have elements of fascination as colors fade and vibrant fluid filled petals become parchment like. Color goes from vibrant to muted. Beautiful or not? The experience of taking these photos extended my continuum of perceived, embraced and shared beauty.
I have also been gathering plant materials; petals, leaves and branches from native and medicinal flora. Each phase of development has unique beauty, including decomposition. It is my intention to compost the Return installation to facilitate its transformation to soil.
In my exhibition, Turn Around, I explore personal symbolism. One of my influences, Agnes Martin, wrote about creating a grid as a memory of past perfection. It is my wish that these photographs define a renewed experience of love.
Layering of images creates a sense of present and past experience. I was inspired by a myriad of images layered by Robert Rauschenberg to create his personal language of expression. The majority of the photographs in Turn Around were shot and layered in the months following the death of my sister, Sandra Jean in December, 2015. The work documents my observations and reflections following her transition. I spent several months in rural Northern Idaho at Sandy’s home photographing the landscape and fragments of life there. Doing this work was an opportunity for me to become acquainted with her from new perspectives and appreciate her life from fresh vantage points. I felt so strongly that she was everywhere; bigger, smaller, kinder, more gentle, completely generous and nonintrusive than ever before. So much of her appeared purple and pink. I never realized that she loved rivers so passionately and that the theme of river restoration might connect us so deeply. I loved touching pages of her handwriting, no matter what the topic.
Many of the works including Spring Illumination and Writing Light are studies in layered illumination. These works are illusive and imply an inner experience deeper than everyday reality. I posed questions to myself and wish to pass along insights and puzzles for the viewer. Where will I feel her presence? What will she express? And how is transformation known?
Snow falling on the day she died felt like the most elusive and gentle caress. Silence seemed immanent from within the snow. Slowly, quietly falling to elongate my breath and soothe my heart. Snow sister, water sister. There were weeks of walking through snow in the company of trees, horses and stillness. When the snow disappeared, buds on trees announced themselves and promised spring. The first days when the leaf blossoms opened was a seasonal Turn Around. Yes, Spring arrived. Then the trees blossomed abundantly with flowers and dramatic colors. Life was renewed and vital. Many photos of the trees’ spring explosion are layered with other Idaho images in the exhibit.
Bulbs seemed to bloom almost overnight. So many purple flowers beneath trees reminded me that my sister loved to collect and plant. Beauty and love flowed from the earth she had touched; hyacinth, narcissism, and especially iris were scattered at her ranch and here and there- all over town. In my work, flower images too are layered with other spring happenings as in the Earth with Sky. Awaiting Earth Day is a pile of debris, which was sold on Earth Day for recycling. This show is dedicated to her and was created to honor and reflect her beauty. I see work in Turn Around as a statement about how inspiring beginnings can flow from painful endings, uncertainty leads to knowing, and tender shoots burst into amazing form and color.
Works in Meandering express my fascination with movement, liquidity and the layering of time. During my art practice, I have passionately returned to creating flowing calligraphic ink lines, both small scale and body sized, as a practice which invites creative flow and inspiration.
There are more than twenty 9 x 12" ink drawings which integrate linear qualities from drawing and sculptures of 20th century masters like Pablo Picasso, Joan Miro, and Alexander Calder. They have certainly influenced me in line drawings with whimsy, playfulness, and passion for simplicity of line. The ink and acrylic banners and 24 x 30" ink drawings and bleach drawings are more inspired by natural processes. The 2013 pastel drawings integrate both elements from art history and interactions in nature to create an energized intersection of motion with matter. The pastels describe where co- existent realities meet and affect each other.
In the pastels, this is also a place of transformation where vapor becomes solid or light influences matter. These phenomena are everyday like photosynthesis happening within leaves during daylight hours. Process of erosion may be so slow that it is imperceptible to those standing on the shore as the river wears away its banks. In these elusive and sometimes imperceptible spaces, forms slowly revitalize, wrap, breakdown and transform. The drawing “Above and Below”has a landscape sensibility which is rich in detail and stark. Forms imply both known and unknown forms and resonate with the unconscious.
I ask myself, could what is hidden be more fundamental than what is seen? In an attempt to understand and address this question, I make visible intersections and influences that are more tactile than visual like heat, air, liquid water body mass or emotional energies like kindness and aggression. Drawing, I experienced the energy of the lines and marks as a River's energy at various stages of development. The flowing river carries sediment and creates deltas, it carves earth and rock banks and deepens its own channel. Over time, it creates deep curves with a meandering slower water flow. Its shape becomes snake-like. Gradually through its flow, the river acts as creator, shaping itself and the surrounding terrain, often gently, and sometimes fiercely.
It is my wish that this art exhibition be a distillation, crystallization and clarification of energetic boundaries. Through my work, I imagine looking into a deep and very still body of water and being able to see to a new depth. This work comes from fascination with the development and unfolding of form through natural processes, which parallels creation of art and languages and touches the spiritual. As an artist, I celebrate the process of creativity and re-creation. This show explores the nature of inter- connectedness during change and re-creation, inherent in life itself, living and "non- living" beings interact and in their womb of creation form is born. Creation and destruction are intertwined.
This body of work is a glimpse into the stages of my creative process in which I excavate form through abstract painting. These encaustic works express my joy, awe, and faith in the journey. It is related to expansion and contraction, fullness and release and is like the experience of breathing, the rhythm of becoming full and then emptying out. I witness myself carving out to the edge of nothingness and then returning to lush density.
In Motion expressed an existential philosophical perspective. Painting decisions are immediate, accepted intuitively and then realized. Decision-making is layered and the history can be witnessed by “seeing into” the painting. In some of the works lines of removal make pencil like traces, forming a history of previous layers and clues about the process. Light pigment staining in some portions reinforces the linear quality and documents previous denser layers of color. Past incarnations of the painting are present as hints of what was.
Expressive line is a key component in this work. Motion inherent in carved line is an expression of discovery in the moment. In the large images I create line by scraping off sections of hot paint, thus lightening, reorganizing and reinvisioning the work. This line of removal is much like erasures in my charcoal drawings, with which I carve out forms in sculptural fashion. Passages are ghost like, ethereal, sometimes lyrical or aggressive. I work intuitively, trust my unconscious, and consider myself a surrealist by nature.
The linear elements originate in automatic writing, which I have practiced for more that a decade. The smaller companion pieces are created from material formed while removing paint during the scraping process. Initially I understood them as an expression of stillness and fullness and now I also see them as abstracted figures in a flurry of motion. The paintings refer to movement in the natural world and are inspired by water, airflow, cosmic settings and fluidity itself. This gestural painting is rooted in abstract expressionist and is influenced by Sam Francis, Helen Frankenthaler and Jackson Pollack. Movement as spiritual practice was partially inspired by Rudolph Steiner’s Eurhythmics and Joseph Beuys, a great teacher for revealing personal truth by direct and honest means.
Visually encaustic has unique and subtle qualities. Color is vivid, luminescent or opaque, and can be highly saturated or transparent. It appears ephemeral, but is highly durable and archival. I find working with encaustic exciting and well suited to my artistic goals and temperament. Since I work out of doors, many external elements affect my work, like the angle of the sun, temperature of the day, and nature of the breeze. I welcome challenges and variation caused by the natural setting.