Hashtags at Home, 2020, carbon transfer on mulberry paper, 18 x 36 inches
Although I take many political actions in my personal life, I generally prefer not to use my art for explicit political messaging. I believe that all art is subversive - the life and economics of the artist, the subjectivity of the art product. But I find art to be a less effective method of civic change than using my feet, my voice, my checkbook, my vote, teaching, etc.
As I faced my drawing table during the Covid-19 pause, I couldn't help but reflect on current events. My own feelings of belonging and connection with the suffering of others found an outlet for expression. I thought about the vacant social gatherings that ordinarily mark our lives, which led to "Silent Prom." I attended many protests, whose chants inspired both "Sanctuary" and "This is What Democracy Looks Like." "Hashtags at Home" was a way to make visible my feelings of being fed up with the wrongheadedness and outright danger coming out of the White House. My disappointment with many public monuments - symbols of the systemic racism of our public institutions - focused my thoughts on the ways that art can connect or dis-connect with the experiences of real people in our country. Ultimately, I return to Beauty and Truth as governing principles in art and life.
Silent Prom, 2020
Simple Truth, 2020
I focus frequently on the architecture of public spaces, storefront facades and the signage that identifies them. Beyond my use of pattern to create these spaces, hand-drawn bits of text add a sound-byte element. My tendency to pair left and right zones of a picture (I often make diptychs) is a natural aspect of this work in which I am inserting carbon paper in between sheets of mulberry paper, and "printing" or inscribing imagery from one side of the page to the other. The doubled and mirrored imagery reinforces my interest in repeated loops, my ambivalence with the requirement for storylines to "progress."
This is What Democracy Looks Like, 2020
New Monuments, 2020
This "pseudo" printing technique is an attempt to reconcile the handmade with the mechanical and the digital. My interest in this was seeded early by growing up watching my dad make architectural drawings by hand, stamp them and produce blueprints using a printer in his office in our home. I also believe these works are inspired in some part by the work of the artist Nancy Spero, for whom I was a part-time assistant during my college years. The horizontal scroll-like format, the hand printing techniques, the use of texts and her unwavering commitment to using her art to make direct political statements have all profoundly affected me.