My installations, paintings, drawings, and fishing line projects speak to a warming planet, invasive plant and animal species, plastics, and rising tides and their effect on and transformation of our landscape and natural resources. To reflect this concept visually, some of the artworks’ subjects and surfaces are layered with cut forms that mimic coral, seaweed, and flora. In the paintings, there are cold weather animals trying to survive in hot, swampy environments, and walls of ocean water swallowing the landscape. The paintings reflect this tragic reality through a narrative of dramatic skies, invasive plants, and anxious, yet lovingly painted birds.
There’s a physicality to the installation work in the way it juts forth from the wall, creating a metaphorical sound like the rapturous violence of giant waves crashing into a calving glacier. We are living in uncertain times — a growing ‘water world’ with more droughts and dwindling fresh drinking water, as our need for it arises. My work traverses the underbelly of the sublime and the future of an Earthly dystopia.
Because my seascapes are ironically made of plastic, they are directly related to the concepts in The Universal Sea project — my use of plastic materials, in both the installations and paintings, causes a paradox of thought. I’m repulsed by the proliferation of plastics in nearly everything we use and how it’s littered throughout the natural environment, yet I’m attracted to the smooth sexiness, ease of cutting, and the durability of working and painting on this material. My tiny-haired brushes glide along the surface, allowing the oil paint to leave delicate marks and lush statements. Most plastic has a short lifespan — one use and it’s discarded, may be recycled. My work offers plastic a long shelf life, thereby raising its hierarchy and value in the material world. It also becomes ambiguous: the way the paint sits on the surface, how it captures the light, and the transparency, calls to mind Old Master modes of painting, such as indirect, glazing, etc. A sleek, silky, glossy, human-made material is cut, painted, layered, and transformed into a contemporary, swirling waterscape, where beauty and darkness reside.
In 2015, I participated in an artists’ residency in Svalbard, Norway. We sailed on a small, antique sailing vessel up the west coast of the archipelago, stopping at several fjords along the way north. We spent hours on shore to work/photograph, hike, and explore the landscape. It was a memorable and inspirational experience, which led me to the installation work that I’ve been making and exhibiting ever since. My work is inspired by the issues that encompass climate change and I find it cathartic to make work that speaks to these concerns. When I was in Svalbard, I thought I’d be intensely motivated by the glaciers, as I’d been using glaciers in my work for a few years beforehand, but surprisingly, the ocean was my muse, and after my residency, I started the painted water series, which includes “Drenched and Overgrown.”
Three Actions with the Public:
– action 1: I would engage the public in discussions that speak to the many impacts of climate change through an on-site performance — I will attempt to untie a large piece of aqua-blue, plastic-made fishing net that I found and brought back from my trip to the Arctic Circle in 2015. With basic tools, I will untie some of the several hundred hardened and ultra-tight knots in the net — a difficult task, and metaphor for the unravelling of the environment and the over five trillion pieces of plastic in the world’s oceans.