I create multimedia artwork whose illustrative media application and interaction simultaneously provides the viewer with a visual narrative and a material sensitivity. In "Honey Trap" a large dainty honey bee, made of delicately fused glass is suspended between two looming dye painted hands with thread bursting from the fingertips, forming the embroidered shapes of Venus flytraps. The surface they share is translucent, revealing the threads connecting the Venus flytraps, crisscrossing behind the honeybee as if caught in a spider's web.
The tension between the honeybee and the Venus flytraps is emphasized by their contrasting materials. The glass bee, hard yet breakable, and the embroidered flytraps, soft but used to mend. Their balance manipulated by the hands, poised above and below, with gilded spiral fingerprints. The hands are present in every aspect of the piece in that my hand, the hand of the artist, is visible in every layer, every medium. In this same way we as humans have left our mark on the balance of life on this earth, even if not obvious to the naked eye
I am interested in the relationship the modern world has constructed with the Earth. The natural world is cut and cleared away in order for industrialized societies to develop and expand. We groom nature to our liking and disregard the consequences; many of us believe we have dominion over the earth therefore we can do whatever we want with it. In my current body of work, titled Entwined, I combine charcoal, dye, embroidery, and glass to create images that are meant to call to mind an inversion of the hierarchal dichotomy of humanity over botanical life.
In Resurgence, a pair of male and female figures is frozen in a graceful, yet contorted dance. This “dance of life,” symbolized how our lives are entwined with nature because we are of nature, and our fates are woven together. These figures are depicted with charcoal, burnt matter, and function as an ashy landscape for the botanical embroidery to grow from. Just as weeds determinedly push forth from man-made roads and sidewalks, in my work plants thrust forth from the figures depicted. The embroidery depicting those plants weaves in and out of the fabric and is reminiscent of roots weaving in and out of the earth.
The translucent fabric used as the ground of the work allows the connecting threads of the embroidery to be seen behind the image, revealing the growth within the process. The translucent surface also creates an ethereal atmosphere, giving the figures a ghostly appearance, existing more in our space than an image depicted on a flat opaque surface. This translucence is emphasized in Resurgence, as it is displayed off the wall, as well as allowing the changing environment to effect the composition of the piece.
The drawing is altered by the presence of the golden glass fusing, secured to the surface of the translucent fabric with gilded threads. The fragility of these fusings calls to mind the fragile balance that has begun to deteriorate between our environment and ourselves. Many of these fusings depict ferns, which are known to react to touch, possessing a human-like quality that most other plants lack. This illustrates the give and take in the human/nature relationship often lost to us.
The figurative imagery, entangled with the botanical embroidery, gilded with golden glass and metallic threads, evokes a sense of new life and creation. In this way I am inverting the destructive relationship the modern world has with nature, and creating a beautiful on to be born from the ashes.
My embroidered paintings explore the unseen history of women “hobbyists,” whose work and practice was not valued as art, more specifically “fine art.” However this is not the sole subject of my paintings; I bring in elements of modernist paintings, a movement heavy with male painters, who are never called “male painters.” These two subjects exist separately within the work, but have moments of symbiotic interaction where they are woven together. By bringing together these elements of “low “ art and “high” art I create a visual balance between the high and low, the painter and the hobbyist, the masculine and feminine.
In my most recent body of work I embroider flowers, paint white abstract geometric forms, and include accents of gold leaf, all composed on raw, untreated canvas. The untreated canvas also contains charcoal figure drawings that appear as sketches or under paintings, appearing unfinished. An internal frame painted extending out of the geometric forms. The figure drawn in charcoal exists both inside and outside the frame while the embroidery weaves around the white forms and frame both visually and physically. The frame represents the “eye” of the art world, what is being validated by receiving attention from galleries, collectors, and most importantly theorists. The frame is arbitrary placed in the work, what exists inside is not any more important than what is outside.