Artist Statement 2016

 

Reviewing the work I have created so far in Nebraska during the last three years, what stands out is that my concept has changed. From a more inward and backward looking view of landscape as a palimpsest containing historical traces, I am now regarding landscape as a backdrop, a map, a specific place where my concerns are situated regarding overuse of ground water, the tapping of the Ogallala aquifer with its attendant solidification or annihilation of water pockets, and the exchange of long rooted native prairie grasses for short rooted corn thirsty for surface water. Then there is the human concern, daily aroused by divisive and dehumanizing remarks by politicians regarding the plight of thousands of fugitives around the world in need of a stable environment, a place to recover their humanity and dignity, in need of helping hands to overcome the transition before becoming productive members of society.  Whether they are the survivors from Syria or the children walking from Nicaragua, my artwork wants to stress their common humanity, embrace their cultural diversity and offer them a voice.

I draw from life, landscapes seen from my windows or from memory after a trip. My drawings are pattern based, sometimes curvilinear in character, sometimes ordered in a strict grid with many variations in between. Dots are my vehicle of expression, in all media, in all sizes, expressing myriad surfaces and events. My papers range from thick, heavy handmade cotton sheets to thin ones made from pulped banana leaves. Watercolor marks change into marks made by crayons, by metal nibs and acrylic inks, by my finger dipped in stiff acrylic paint. When working on what I call “poems”, small pieces on cradled board, I am surrounded by a heaving swell of torn drawings from different years often eroded to tiny slivers. Then the magic starts:  my thoughts interact with the marks until they fuse into a new reality that orders the world according to its idiosyncratic logic. Feeling my way following rules only vaguely communicated, I watch something come to life with its own truth expressed in tesserae of textures, colors and patterns.