My work is inspired by the interconnectedness of our biological lives to all of nature. In recent decades, research shows that we live in a microbial ecosystem and this ecosystem extends within and beyond our skin.
Human cultures of the past had an understanding of their unity with all of earth’s organisms. Such an ancient awareness is apparent in an exhibition of objects of the first peoples of the Americas at the Brooklyn Museum. I am struck by one object in particular — a gold Chiriqui pendant of a spider whose legs end in human hands holding a double-headed snake. In this pendant, the spider is given greater status than the human hands. This alteration of hierarchies can be found in the mythologies of many cultures — communicating, cross-species solidarity, power, and awe.
From the outset I print art works out of many different things and they sometimes surpass what I imagined for them. Each becomes animated play between animals, plants and our bodies. A man’s hand moves from solidity to translucency as it mingles with moss. An oak seed, barely out of its acorn husk, is delicately sprouting roots. Behind the oak seed is a portrait of Daphne, transforming into the laurel tree, based on Bernini’s sculpture. This completes Ovid’s Metamorphosis story where Apollo declares that the branches from the laurel tree will guard and protect the oak doorposts and arches of Roman processionals.
I engage with the classic practice of analog photography making camera-less negatives of animal and plant forms. I insist on their sheer presence and combine them with parts of our bodies from my photographs of people taken with a large format 4 X 5 camera. Images are exposed onto a translucent paper which, in its sensuality, is like our skin and the membranes we share with all animate beings. My intention is to create poetic narratives embracing our integral relationship with the earth.
I believe in imagery that uses the power of its materials and its immediacy to give form, beauty, and illumination to our relationship to the earth. Palladium produces tonal distinctions of extreme subtlety and even the darks reflect light. The paper I use, Japanese gampi paper, is handmade from the fibers of a wild plant and has the quality of silk. Brushing the palladium on this translucent, hand-made, plant-based paper and using the sun for exposure gives spontaneity to each unique work. Painting with Kremer pearl luster watercolor, which refracts light, heightens the drama.
With forms both figurative and abstract, minimal and baroque I seek to engage with the vital spirit of the natural world.