My paintings are about my personal story. They are my narrative diary. I paint the real, imagined, and dreamt.
As an artist I use the word "paint" to encompass what I do, but it involves different techniques and processes. Photography is a significant contributor. While I have been painting and drawing since childhood, I began photographing myself soon after I discovered the self-portraits of my great great grandfather, a turn of the century hobbyist photographer, performing magician and ventriloquist. Unbeknownst to many, he was half Native American, straddling two worlds. He became a strong influence in my own search for identity and to honor him I chose to explore his. I studied at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico. My experience there had a profound affect on my work and ideas. The primarily Native faculty fostered a great love of exploration. They approached different materials to tell a personal and expressive story. This philosophy reinforced what I always felt art should be about.
Shortly thereafter, I became interested in Rauschenberg and Hannah Hoch. At Moore College of Art and Design, I focused primarily on painting, collage and photo transfer while continuing with the identity self-portraits. I began trying to create a sort of stylistic surrealism by combining the photo-based imagery and the hand painted. Together, they create a unique environment of the expected fused with surprise. The extensive collection of Christian Iconography at the PMA also fostered a great love of gold leaf and the portraits of saints.
Living in the Philadelphia region again, my love of abandoned buildings reawakened. As a child I would create "constructed" drawings of houses and boats. I would draw them wooden plank by wooden plank, something akin to a hobo shanty, with patchwork wood and metal scraps. I've always been fascinated with dilapidated buildings, layered billboards, and old frescoes. The manmade interacts with the natural environment and over time it takes on a weathered quality that I've always found more beautiful because of its imperfections. Subtleties beneath the surface are revealed: layers of paint, text, underlying structure, and as a result some of the surface becomes obscure. I approach my work this way with buried layers. I unearth them with sandpaper and a razor blade like topical archaeology.
Becoming a mother and having children moved me to confront my childhood head on and so I am periodically revisiting the "Circus". My search for identity still continues.....I am embracing my Scotch-Irish-Welsh-Pennsyklvania-coal-mining-roots and looking for my other paternal great-great-grandfather's fresco paintings on the ceilings of old Philadelphia if I can find any that remain....I am holding my change purse up to the moon.....I am praying to St. Anthony.....lost and found.....identity and time.....evolution and decay.