In the spring of 2017, my work was part of the exhibition “Tattooed New-York” at The New-York Historical Society. This exhibition traced the history of tattooing in New York starting with the native peoples to our times. It was curated by Cristian Petru Panaite.
My piece, “Hands Fly”, was exhibited with work that expands tattooing from the personal into art.
Tattooing was and is a part of human cultures globally.
Recently I found a goose feather and as I walked, with the feather in my hand, I noticed how the feather responded to the wind. I felt how a bird feels as it flies.
At the Cooper Hewitt in New York City, there is an exhibit titled “Rebeca Mendez Selects” which highlights the fate of the Aztec ruler’s, Moctezuma II’s, private aviary at the hands of the Spanish conquerors. The Spanish set fire to his aviary and killed all the birds, which had come from all over the Americas. That this act demonstrates the destructive powers inherent in colonialism; it also illustrates the tensions arising from our conflicting impulses towards nature. This exhibit shows birds as sources of art, design and science and also discusses the effects of climate change and human avarice.
I am honored to exhibit two series of works, ‘Blossoms of an Oak Tree’ and ‘Ocean Totems’ in the online exhibition https://fayddigital.com/Nature-in-lockdown at fayddigital.com Magazine, working at the intersection of art, design and the environment. This exhibition has been curated by Yingbi Lee and Maryam Arshad.
During lockdown, I took daily walks in Prospect Park, Brooklyn. As a result, I developed a sensitivity to walking on earth and climbing over tree roots. This urban park is my refuge and I walked in rain as well as sunny days. After a windy rain storm, I noticed for the first time how trees blossom in the spring because I found blossoms of a large oak tree on the ground. The delicacy of these newly sprouted blossoms and yellow green leaves amazed me.
I applied my camera-less photography techniques to these blossoms to make 16X20 inch negatives. Brushing the palladium solution onto the transparent gampi paper and exposing the negatives with the sun helped me to express the vibrancy of the oak blossoms.
I made the collage, ‘Breath’, to equate the first breath of a baby with blossoming oak leaves. I printed multiple negatives in layers and painted with pearlescent watercolors. By having the baby and the Oak blossoms in the same work I seek to show our interdependence with trees. We need oxygen. Trees transform carbon dioxide through photosynthesis to produce oxygen.
Act Natural is an online Berlin Collectiv group exhibition, May 20 through June 18, 2022 featuring art work related to the natural world.
“The secret of the human condition is that there is no equilibrium between humans and the surrounding forces of nature, which infinitely exceed us when we remain in inaction; there is only equilibrium in action by which humans recreate our own life through work.”
-Simone Weil, “Gravity and Grace”
Act Natural explores the themes of perception, connection and acceptance of the natural world in which we inherently exist and act upon. Many artists in this exhibition find grace through their work in what is traditionally perceived as a conflict between humans and nature. Philosopher Alan Watts clarifies our position: “You didn’t come in this world. You came out of it, like a wave from the ocean.”
The artists in this fine art exhibition are Nicole Cohen, Martha Colburn, Valerie Fuchs, Alice Garik, Gwen Kerber, Paul Paiement and Stephen Wozniak. Stephen Wozniak curated the exhibition.
While the work of participating artists in “Act Natural” may appear different upon cursory glance, there are numerous formal overlaps that indicate each artist’s desire to create deliberate, necessary and ostensibly rich aesthetic elements that point to the poetry of their preferred themes: visual perception, subjective experience, human creativity, and nature at large.
In 2022, now in the throes of political unrest, loss of life, systemic discrimination, a worldwide pandemic, economic upheaval, and eroding self worth, it is imperative to provide new work that helps fine art audiences to connect with the natural world, reset their lives, redefine their value, resolve our nominal differences and reclaim the place we call home on earth.
I believe that this online exhibition will help by presenting the works of “Act Natural” to a diverse audience that seeks personal healing, a reconnection to the natural world, community unification and movement forward.
The Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition, BWAC, is exhibiting “More Art of Coney Island”, a curated exhibition for the month of August, 2022. This is a juried show selected by Alicia Degener, co-president of BWAC.
Coney Island is considered to be the poor man’s Riviera. The artists in this exhibition have works depicting the multitudes of people who enjoy Coney Island. The artists represent people of all ages. One can almost hear the sounds of people laughing, talking, listening to music, shouting and even screaming when they go on the rides offered on Coney Island. The drawings, paintings, prints, textiles, and photographs show people on the boardwalk, on the beach, in the water, playing games and particularly participating in the annual Mermaid Parade. I think the Mermaid Parade honors the feminine archetype or Venus, who in mythology rose from the sea.
I am pleased to have my palladium prints of people with tattoos exhibited in this immense wooden building, once a warehouse, and now is a place for art and people to mingle.
At Arts Gowanus Open Studios, one of the collages I exhibited is about the movement and protest by Iranian women for their rights in what is called: Woman.Life.Freedom. My works used flowers to symbolize the beauty of life and its fragility. Flowers are associated also with the cycle of life from seed to flowering to fruiting to death and then back to regeneration. The woman’s hand weaving through the snakeskin also alludes to the cycles of regeneration. The inspiration for this print is the ancient sculptures of the serpent divinity, usually a woman who holds and is embraced by snakes. The serpent is a symbol of feminine wisdom.
This particular art work is a response to the outcry by women in Iran and now all over the globe. Woman.Life.Freedom resonates with the transformation all women seek for equality, no matter where they live.
My artwork in the form of palladium prints is on exhibit. This exhibition has been curated by Azure Arts and the dates are February 23, 2023 to March 13, 2023. The venue is located at 5 Rivington Street in Manhattan. My work is in correspondence with two other artists who address the theme of “Vital Impetus”.
“Vital impetus” derives from the concept of “elan vital” , a term coined by the French philosopher Henri Bergson. Rather than simply adhering to a set of mechanistic laws, Bergson contended that life has an inherent drive or impulse towards creativity, growth and innovation. While his philosophy emphasizes the role of individual experience, consciousness and creativity, he also saw the ‘self’ as fundamentally connected to others. The ‘self’ for Bergson, stands in dynamic relation to others. The ‘self’ is evolving constantly through its interactions with others.
In my artworks on exhibit, the human body is explored as a site for construction and communication of identity. Tattoos are vehicles for merging our human experiences with the larger world. By culling images from mythology, artifacts, and flora and fauna, my work explores the vital connections between self and other.
This work “Beyond the Veil” will be on exhibit with a poem, “Veil Not”, by Iranian poet Ala Khaki from August 5- September 4 at The Lakes Gallery in Laconia, New Hampshire. This collage and the accompanying poem support the struggle of Iranian women and girls for equality and freedom from the harsh patriarchal rules imposed by the Iranian leadership. Echoing this is a very moving piece published in The New York Times Magazine titled “Dreaming of a New Iran.”
In this work I use the language of forms to connect physically and spiritually with the burden of enforced wearing of a head covering. The forbidding black forms above which the young girl rises, as she looks beyond as if into the future, hold and appear to subdue a woman below them. I also use the language of color –blue, the color of open skies is intertwined in the girl’s hair and the red lines are for the fires in Ala Khaki’s poem. With these colors I speak of the yearnings for freedom for the women of Iran.
Here is Ala Khaki’s poem:
To compliment “Beyond the Veil”, I will also be exhibiting “Flower Play” and “Trembling”. These works of flowers speak of transformation and states of joy and growth. They echo the desires of Iranian women for freedom.
My handmade artworks, about the metamorphosis that tattooing gives people, are exhibited with the work of two other artists at a boutique hotel on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, Untitled at 3 Freeman Alley, from November 2023 through February 15, 2024. The exhibit titled “Vital Impetus: Life Signs”, curated by Elizabeth Chatham of Azure Arts NYC is situated in the expansive modern lobby. The hotel aims to provide guests, the “tattoo generation”, with the flavor of New York City with our artworks, murals and even graffiti.
My handmade artistic approach fits with the murals hand painted in the hotel. My works on exhibit are about tattoos. I use film when I photograph people’s tattoos. I enlarge my 4X5 inch film in a wet darkroom and brush palladium on handmade Japanese gampi paper to print my negatives. I use the sun to develop the images.
The handmade Japanese gampi paper, situates the palladium images of tattoos like tattoo ink penetrates skin. Gampi paper is made from a bush found in the mountains and warm areas of Japan. Gampi cannot be cultivated and therefore is rare and the most expensive of the handmade Japanese papers. Its translucency and shiny texture make it ideal for my work incorporating tattoos with fragments of nature. It is the perfect ground for the metamorphosis I seek in my artwork where human tattoos meet fragments of nature. This metamorphosis, I hope, will transform the experience of people sitting in the comfortable lobby as they talk, enjoy coffee and work.