I am interested in probing the environments and objects we surround ourselves with in our relentless quest for permanence. Flux and instability are part of the content in my work, echoing the 21st century zeitgeist and my family history of displacement, growing up in a military family. The transitory and fragile nature of life, its startling pairing of cruelty with beauty-- this paradox compels me to express myself visually. I create tableaux that are apparently comforting but that on further examination reveal bewilderment, contradiction, outrage and humor. My work comes out of chance and research. For an exhibition in a space that was formerly a carriage house, I restored a derelict carriage to talk about ideas around comfort and transience. In researching my current project Maximum Security
, an image of a quilt in a newspaper article about Guantanamo turned out to be an aerial view of that prison. Further research revealed the extent of this disquieting discovery. I learned the modular patterning in prison design shares a great deal with quilts’ formal qualities and geometric construction. Our culture of incarceration removes a large percentage of our underclass from the cultural history we share and I want to bring awareness to this by drawing the viewer into a familiar space that then exposes contradictions and gives clues about how our culture is at risk. I also want to create work that is visually arresting and intricate, and that opens a multiplicity of readings.
Reading and writing, driving, domestic tasks (cleaning up dog hair, doing the dishes), swimming and watching tv—the repetitive sublime of everyday life is what fuels my work—both in terms of content and material (did you know you could felt dog hair?!). Many of my ideas are hashed out in the car, on my way to somewhere. I look at artists throughout history for inspiration, and am forcibly reminded of my good fortune at living in a time when women can participate in the conversation I love. Some important artists for me right now are: Doris Salcedo, Sanford Biggers, Mona Hatoum, Virgil Marti, Louise Bourgeois, David Hammons, Elaine Reicek, Brian Miller, and Lee Bontecou.
One of many reasons I love being an artist is the opportunity to explore a wide range of ways of making, from sewing, welding and woodworking to 3-D printing and recently silk-screen. The making process is revelatory for me and has directed my work into unknown and exciting territories. I want to make work that challenges ways of thinking and poses essential questions about our place in the world at this moment. My interests in domestic architecture, material culture, craft, gender studies, fashion and urbanism feed this inquiry and provide inexhaustible material for future work.