In the early 2000s I began to make recognizably traditional quilts using non-traditional combinations of upholstery fabric. Quilts have traditionally been made slowly, carefully and lovingly by women. Although things of beauty, the women making quilts were practical and frugal. They were loving, but not flamboyant or excessive, in their expression of love.
A seminal moment in the direction of my art was a 2010 visit to the Rothko Chapel and the Cy Twombly Gallery in Houston, Texas. I view the Abstract Impressionists as the most robustly male, and emotionally explicit movement in art, and wondered how that sensibility would combine with the femininity of fabric patchwork. I use my art to investigate expressing emotion and abstract concepts through the textile medium.
In my recent work I have focused on two main themes:
The Myths: The Greek and Roman Myths are core subjects in European Art, frequently depicted to show beauty and to teach the moral lessons that have guided the culture. In this series I reinterpret the myths looking for the emotion, or seminal image, at the core of the myth. I do not tell the story of the myth, I use my art as a reminder of the story.
For example, at the beginning of creating these works I could visualize Apollo as a brilliant ball of light. Apollo is powerful, beautiful and vain. I see him as blazing with his own grandeur. So bright is the power of his flames, the light he emits obscure the details of his face and form.
Both Persephone and Leda and the Swan are stories about the power of men over women. The story of Leda and The Swan is complex. Zeus lusts after Leda and takes the form of a swan and perhaps seduces her, or it might be rape. By depicting the story in soft, seductive, boudoir colors and textures I suggest that it is consensual while the harsh angles and gashes of color offer the alternative. We do not fully see Leda, she is overwhelmed by the swan, Zeus, the male, who has the power.
Memory: In this series of works I am exploring both the brief, almost ephemeral, nature of experiencing a massive weather event, seeing a shooting star, or other extraordinary cosmic or atmospheric event, and the cloud of disorderly emotions that surrounds the sighting and the telling of the sighting.
People are natural storytellers, compelled to describe both mundane and important events. We strive to tell stories that accurately portray our experiences but we are giving up this skill, an important method of imbedding a memory in our minds, by relying on photographs as the only validation of an event. Digital cameras and phones allow me to record everything I see. Without a photograph can I believe what I saw?
In portraying the event I draw attention to what I experienced emotionally, this is my truth about seeing.
These large fabric works are made by machine-sewing together small sections of fabrics of varying weights and textures with hand over stitching to enhance the texture and narrative. The compositions develop organically from the fabric and my process of selecting, cutting, assembling, and overstitching.