Artist's Statement

As an artist working in the modern era, I use many different materials, some of them unorthodox. We live in a world where imagery is a constant and materials of all kinds are a part of our environment. I choose to make use of some of these materials, recycling them into an art context, partly because of an interest in ecology and conservation of nature and partly because I find the materials interesting and inspiring. I am familiar with the traditional techniques of painting and drawing, but the experimental side of my personality urges me to incorporate images and objects from the world around me.

In the course of exhibiting my work, I find that collage is often a misunderstood and maligned medium. It has actually been around for quite awhile; Picasso and Braque created collages with materials at hand – newspapers, pieces of wood, old posters, etc. – calling attention to the issue of “reality versus illusion”. The Surrealists embraced collage as a means of connecting with the unconscious; they were entranced with the accidental juxtapositions that often occur in collage. Robert Rauschenberg used collage in much of his work, enjoying its “free association” aspect. Collage is not very different from painting or any other artistic method; the same concepts apply – shape, form, composition, color. Collagists find the materials of their creation in the world around them; painters mix colors of paint to use as their building blocks.

I find collage to be appropriate for the epoch in which I live. In the past, artists were the recorders of events, along with historians. We would have to imagine the appearance of people and places of the past if not for the artists of the time. With the advent of photography, this was no longer the case, and artists realized that they had been liberated from this role. Artists began to create works that portrayed their thoughts and emotions; psychiatry had come into being and people were beginning to be aware of their inner selves. Modern art became a vehicle for expressing the interior rather than the exterior.

As people living in the 21st century, our visual experience is often similar to collage. We see a multitude of images in a day, creating a mental collage in our minds. Television uses its own form of collage, called montage. We see collages of imagery in magazines and billboards. But more importantly, collage has a similarity to thought. Our ideas, emotions and recollections are all connected to imagery; we create our own personal vocabulary of meaning with visual images. Our dreams are full of symbolic imagery; pictures float in our minds, forming and dissolving like an internal kaleidoscope.

My mixed media artwork is created in an attempt to make these concepts tangible. My works are dreamscapes, upon which the viewer may project his/ her thoughts and dreams. My work is not complete until this happens; you - the viewer / dreamer - complete the circuit.

Biography

As an artist working in mixed media, I explore the possibilities of my materials – of collage, acrylic and oil paint, pressed plants, metal leaf, and found objects and/or imagery. Instead of planning a painting to the final stroke, I begin working with only a fragment or sketch, letting things evolve in an organic way. As an artist I make use of materials that society sees as worthless; I recycle discarded material, transforming it. The surfaces of my work have complexity and intricate detail, evolving by layers, constructed as delicately as a spider’s web. I use paint in delicate washes, layered to create complex and unusual colors; watercolor technique informs my acrylics. I look for translucency in my various materials; it is a quality that allows one to see through all the many layers, delving into mystery. Translucency is a physical equivalent of a metaphysical quality – the spirit beneath the image. Mystery and spirituality are the qualities that can be seen continuously in my work. My work is a kind of reverse archaeology-secrets and mysteries are hidden within the layers of my collages.

I grew up in a very small Texas town, living on my grandparents’ farm. I quickly became aware of art and literature, reading books that were beyond my years. I can’t remember a time that I was not immersed in drawing and painting. However, in the conservative, middle-class circumstances in which I grew up, I was discouraged from pursuing an art career. It was considered unrealistic and frivolous. I continued my study of art, and got my Bachelors degree in Fine Art, still unsure of how I would make art my life’s work. While in college I became interested in studying dance, and considered that for a time. I became injured in a rehearsal though, and found myself more confused than ever, trying to cope with chronic pain and medical problems. I worked at various jobs and attempted to deal with the pain issues that I was experiencing. Many years passed with no solution from the traditional medical community. I began to drink alcohol in an attempt to deal with the continuous chronic pain, and this behavior eventually led to drug problems and abuse. I was at the lowest point in my life, very unhappy and unable to function as a person or an artist. I dealt with my drug problem by attending counseling.  Then I met Charlie, and with his support I began to try a holistic approach to my pain problem. By visiting kinesiological chiropractors on a regular basis, I began to see some lessening of pain. I left the alcohol and drugs behind.  I continue this treatment to the present day, and credit chiropractic treatment with enabling me to function and continue my life. Charlie now my husband played a huge role in bringing me back to the art realm; I had resigned myself to the fact that an art career was impossible for me. We got involved in the art festival circuit, and we have had a great time exhibiting my work. My work has been received very well. I enjoy meeting my collectors and talking with people about art. I find that art festivals are the perfect venue for discussing new ideas and educating people about art. The educational system of our country does not offer very much in the way of art education; I find that many people are intimidated by art. Art festivals offer a chance to experience art in a non-threatening atmosphere, and I hope that festival attendees leave with a better understanding and less fear of the subject of art.

I have received several accolades and awards while participating in art festivals. I won a ribbon for Promising New Painter of Eastern Shore Art Festival of Fairhope, Alabama. I was the featured artist of Artsplash Graham 2006. My painting of Austin at Night was chosen as the Official T-shirt for the Spirit Echoes Art Festival of Austin in 2005. My work has been featured in posters for Shakespeare in the Park of Dallas. I was published in the Kennedy Group’s national collection of Mixed Media artists. To check my touring schedule.