My work is about beauty and mortality. I am intensely aware of the transitory nature of life and use imagery associated with the idea of mortality as a way of exploring what it means to be alive.
The images I incorporate include those derived primarily from the natural world. The flora and fauna that surrounds us are a source of beauty and metaphor; my goal is to create work that reacquaints us with the world we live in and remind us of how fragile it is.
GREAT PIECE OF TURF was a site-specific installation for “Still Life Lives!” at the Fitchburg Art Museum.
OUROBOROS is a meditation on life, death and regeneration. The title refers to the image of a great snake consuming its tail. As a mythological creature, the ouroboros represents the cycle of the seasons, the potential of action before creation, and the idea of awareness through the cognitive process. It also figures in the history of alchemy, representing the androgyny, an attempt to unify male and female.
Without actually using the image of the Ouroboros, I’ve adapted a variety of natural forms to explore ideas such as hybridization, disease and beauty. Much of the work is inspired by cellular designs. The large egg like forms is derived from ovary cells. The spiny, neurons originated as collages of Bonsai trees. The mass of flora is perennials. Other sources include thyroid cells and viruses.
In an indirect way, the neurons represent consciousness, the ovaries birth, and the thyroid physiological change. The perennials, perhaps easiest to identify, represent both beauty and the temporality of life. Within them a variety of mutations are introduced as a way of thinking about how we are in the world. I’ve thought a lot about the way nature is when observed within the context of our every day life. The cells are an attempt to see the microscopic world on a large stage.
The Counting House
Drawing is a way of thinking. Of all the forms of expression, I believe it is the one that most directly communicates experience. Fascinated with contour, I’ve spent the last 30 years creating silhouettes whose believability as representations of things rests solely on my ability to accurately summarize their identities through a solitary outline. Because we can recognize and understand flat shapes whose nuances happen to remind us of things we have seen, I can cut out a piece of back paper and have someone think of a plant when they look at it. It is an echo of the real world, but one that allows us to understand what we know, and sometimes, what we don’t. This is a wonderful ability to possess and speaks volumes about how we comprehend the world.
THE COUNTING HOUSE is a meditation on life and death. The title, drawn from Dickens’, evokes a 19th Century room occupied by the activity of accounting. The imagery combines rococo flourishes and bones that echo the ossuaries of eastern Europe. I imagined the currency being tabulated to be that of souls.
DOPPELGANGER is an exploration of three creatures: Frankenstein’s monster, the Golem and the Homunculus. Although they inhabit the different realms of science, faith and self-awareness, these monsters probably share a common source. Their ritual creation, distorted appearance and unpredictable behavior say a great deal about their creators. Frankenstein sought to animate an inert being through a rigorous study of natural science but found the product of his labors to be hideous and fled. Rabbi Loew chanted the Golem of Prague into existence from clay then regretted both its progressive growth and burgeoning sentience. The Homunculus, a miniature man created in an alchemical vessel, escaped before it could aid its maker in his work.
These legends pose basic questions about the search for knowledge, identity and transformation. In keeping with this idea, the imagery and arrangement I used reflects order, speculation and chance.
NATURAL WORLD grew out of a visit to Paris. I often find that the most compelling experiences are unexpected. I had thought before travelling that I would spend all of my time in the Louvre, but it was the remarkable richness of the city’s stained glass that made the greatest impression. My reaction to the rosette windows of Notre Dame and the light washed interior of Sainte Chapelle was to mimic the ornate circular designs using animals, plants and insects.
Using Victorian motifs, MARLEY is inspired by Dicken's A Christmas Carol.
This piece was installed at ARTSPACE, New Haven and Allston Skirt Gallery, Boston.
The golem is a creation of the Jewish faith that is sometimes given physical form. Assembled by a rabbi, the process begins by combining virgin earth and spring water to make clay. The mixture is then sculpted into a figure. It is chanted into existence, limb by limb, using all 231 precisely arranged permutations of the letters YHVH. The strict order, careful recitation and use of pure ingredients yield a creature that is a union of physical labor and mystical experience. It has been suggested that the golem is the Rabbi’s doppelganger, a reflection of himself created through devout practice. The double allows its maker to see his faults on a journey to self-knowledge.
Yerxa Road Underpass
A public art work commissioned under the Cambridge Massachusetts Percent for the Arts program.
Imagery was developed from drawings of trees and birds native to the area of the site