You could call my work a visual diary filled with images and artifacts representing a personal and at times an imagined history. I make things that are in response to what I experience; what I can get close enough to in order to see it clearly. The fragments of a life can be drawn, sculpted and pieced together to convey an emotion, and reconstruct a story.
My work is comprised of bodies, altars, vessels, and objects all of which operate like an artifact that represents a part of a story. I like to explore memory, history, and magic. I make my work by hand in my studio and invest a lot of attention into materials and building up layers of a surface, through line, texture and detail. I’m interested in creating awkward juxtapositions; like when you’re seated next to a stranger on a bench and anything might happen: misunderstanding, laughter, violence, indifference, lust, love, silence, solemnity, a sense of humor. I work intuitively, and I use a lot of different materials and strategies including painting, drawing, collage, ceramics, sculpture, printmaking and performance.
I was born in 1968 on the eve of social unrest in Camden, New Jersey, to a family of artists, writers, bootleggers, and trouble-makers. We moved north, where I grew up with my time split between the outskirts of New York City, the slums of Philadelphia, and a farm on the banks of the Delaware River where I learned to swim with snapping turtles. Early on I was fascinated by the social sculptures of Joseph Beuys, graphic work of Ben Shahn and the prints of Corita Kent, as well as my family’s hand-made quilts, and the stoneware jugs made by local potters. The visual and performing arts, and the natural world inspired my initial forays into painting and ceramics.
Living and working in New York City, I find endless inspiration from the city’s physical landscape and the cultural clash of its people. An evolving series of sketchbooks capture an eclectic succession of observed and imagined drawings that I create on daily subway rides en-route to my studio. The imagery in my sketchbooks contain recurring categories of genre: Still lives various domestic and imagined objects prescient of future sculpture; Pots drawings of vessel forms with abstracted surfaces and textures; Portraits of family, friends, and strangers on a train; Talking Points fragments of over–heard conversations, phrases, and poetry; and Abstractions cryptic depictions and doodles of point, line, texture and form. These drawings led directly to the creation of A Congregation of Wits, a series of over forty prints, one thousand drawings, and animations. They also reveal the preliminary working through of ideas for Retablos an ongoing body of sculpture and paintings reminiscent of the domestic altars and still lives I grew up with. I think a life can be understood best by looking at the artifacts we surround ourselves with.