Artist Statement

 

Printable PDF version of artist statement is HERE.

RECENT ACTIVITY

On January 27, protests erupted at JFK airport over President Trump’s travel ban. I felt helpless and frustrated by my inability to physically join the resistance, so I participated in the only way possible from my North Carolina mountain home: scrolling through my news feed, clicking hearts and thumbs-ups for the people doing the important work of making voices heard. It felt painfully inadequate. With each passing day since, I’ve become more keenly aware of my own inactivity as filtered through the lens of others’ activity on Facebook.

Through this project, I’m thinking about the false sense of participation, the ineffective activism, and the echo chamber of social media. I’m thinking about the power of mere headlines and the density of the news cycle. I’m thinking about the personal and processional inadequacies that are heightened when I compare myself to others. I’m thinking about the impossibility of doing everything and being everywhere.

Collectively, these panels are my self-assigned penance for just not being enough: not involved enough, not strong enough, not eloquent enough, not creative enough, not educated enough, not generous enough, not energetic enough, not passionate enough, not vocal enough, not committed enough. Not a good enough friend, citizen, daughter, constituent, sister, liberal, wife, activist, teacher, mother artist.

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QUILTS

I trespass in abandoned houses. I spy on the people who once lived inside, watching them through the telescope of time. I get to know their stories in fragments, in fiction, and in retrospect. Their ghostly voices speak to me from the ruins, telling me why they celebrated, how they loved, what brought them joy, what gave them pain, what they wore, what they ate, why they fled. Later in my studio, I digitally merge and manipulate the photographic evidence scavenged from these forgotten homes. I then break these images apart and print them piecemeal on recycled fabric: scraps from my late grandmother’s church quilting group, each with its own forgotten history. I stitch the pieces together to make compositional wholes before adding my own speculative story in acrylic paint. In the end, each piece is no longer image alone, but is image and object in quilt form.

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FRENCH KNOTS (and OTHER COMPULSIVE STITCHING)

French knots are a meditative undertaking for me. My hands make them automatically, freeing my mind to count repeatedly to ten and wander in between. The knots I make are absolutely, completely, entirely and only themselves and only about themselves. They are freed from the weight of imagery. Their existence is self-referential. I make them as the physical embodiment of my own questions about the value of making itself. As I stitch, I ask myself questions: Has a painter ever counted her strokes and assigned value to a painting based solely thereon? How is the value of an idea quantified? What really is the true value of a French knot? Can I pay for a cheeseburger with French knots? Or, perhaps more appropriately, a craft beer? Does it matter whether or not my hands make the stitches? How does the value change when stitched by another? Is value contained in the product or in the process? Does the hand really matter?

I never reach any concrete conclusions from any of these questions, but continuing to make new work drives me to continue asking. Or vice versa.