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art with an earth-first ethos

I love the places where wild nature and human construction collide. Throughout history, architecture has grappled with its relationship to nature. To blend in or to stand out? A cottage or a cathedral? And then we stopped asking the question. In Western First World Culture, we decided that the cathedral was always going to be the better option. And so we’ve built up a world of cathedrals to the point where they’ve lost all significance. Now the cathedrals (physical and metaphorical) are crumbling, our community is hurting, our planet is dying. It’s time to return to the cottage, to humility and self-reliance.

Most of my work examines the ways humans connect with the world around them, both physically and spiritually. I’ve painted the women of the world merging with nature at a soul level (Here, Now); I’ve explored what happens to wildly abstract landscapes when you frame and harness some aspect of them with straight lines (see Windows on Eden and Intersections);  I regularly examine the ways in which humans might return to a more harmonious coexistence with the rest of life on this planet. 

painting in space

I still consider myself first and foremost a painter, though my conception of this role and the media associated with it is ever-evolving. Most recently, this has meant developing a method of painting in space using cotton rope to articulate brushstrokes across a room. 

From early on, I have been intrigued by the physical experience of a work of art, both in its final state and in the process of creation. For me, the act of painting is a fluid exercise, a dance in color, space, movement, and light. It is a natural extension of my process, then, that carries me away from the 2D substrate and into the realm of interactive 3D media, even as I maintain the traditional methods that connect me to painting: the use of hand-ground pigments, the meticulous preparation of surface, and an expressive approach to color application. 

Through this exercise of deconstructing my painting process, I have come to realize that canvas is simply an interlaced pattern of individual strands of fiber, and paint is a vehicle for fixing pigment in place. Understanding this, I become free to “color outside the lines,” to circumvent expectations, and to introduce a third dimension. 

Using lengths of cotton rope anchored by a simple framework of chain, I trace shapes in space like oversized folds in fabric, twisting and soaring in seemingly untethered suspension. The precise mathematical process behind creating these forms underscores the divine order of all Life. Likewise, stepping back to view the work as a whole, this systematic composition dissolves into a dynamic landscape defined as much by its physical nature as by light and air. 

With the addition of color, either hand-dyed or painted on, I get to see my paintings come to life in three-dimensions at a scale that invites interaction, exploration, and play. Moving through the artwork, overlapping layers of parallel lines create a shimmering moiré effect that brings to mind questions of perception: the perception of substance and space, body and spirit, sensation and cognition.


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