I am interested in materiality: the crease in a gathered scrap of cloth, the tightness of a wrapped and bound book, the smell of a piece of kozo paper. While I’m drawn to the conceptual potential of any of these materials, I continue to be drawn to the tactile and sensory experience. This experience applies to both creation and viewing. Objects linger in my memory and are filed away in time and place. My artwork, whether cloth or paper, appears stained through time and worn by unknown hands.
Process and markmaking create a line through time that links my works together. My process begins with the materials. The layering of cloth or paper is the remnant of the constant interaction and marking I have with them. The accretion of materials build form, stacks of cloth, layers of paper, books. And to enhance the materials themselves, drawing, painting, scratching, cutting, burning, stitching and any other manner of staining is used to enhance the surfaces with a visual and literal richness. Materials that are dense and weighty like Chinese ink, beeswax, and metallic paint, enhance the tactile appeal and the sensory experience of the works.
Often my 3-dimensional pieces contain a small and tangible object. As in my past work, I remain true to the mundane, found object by including these in my work. Objects are chosen for their patina, composition, and shape. Any narrative that might unfold there supplements the piece but is not the sole intention of its inclusion.
My recent projects begin in an elemental space: that of materials and process. Shape is a formal tool. But when combined with cloth and viewed as a visual template, shape can start to contain a narrative. Basic shapes, imagined and those linked to clothing (textile) patterns, draw my attention. I combine paper and cloth into 2 dimensional drawings using shape as a strong visual device to suggest fragments of something larger. Inherent in the word ‘pattern’ are connections to templates, to guides, to an acknowledged manner of being or wholeness. So that subtext is there but does not necessarily overtake the formalism of the pieces. Also, part of any shape is the negative space that surrounds it. The negative space itself forms a new passage that represents the border between presence and absence, a concept that is extended in general to one of the oldest meditations in art: death and birth.
Formally, the flatness of patterns work in contrast to processed and marked backgrounds of paper and cloth. Enhanced with titanium white and intentionally stark, even the scribblings on 3-D forms occupy a strong graphic position on the surface. I use text and parts of text (that form shapes and patterns) as part of the surface vocabulary, a lexicon to express my continuing preoccupation with the ambiguous nature of language and meaning.
I constantly find myself returning to where I started in art: with handmade paper and deeply connected to the natural associations of such a forgiving and malleable medium. Combined with the materials of thread, wax, cloth, paint, and graphite, I can manipulate pulp and paper and engage the viewer in the vast potential of such a seductive and elemental material.