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.