What I'm Doing Where I Am
I am essentially an artist who has learned outside traditional academic circles, using very specific materials and techniques that suit my philosophy. While I studied fine art in school, I earned my B.A. in art history. During and after college, I apprenticed with fine art and gold leaf conservators, interned in a museum conservation laboratory, and studied at the venerable Isabel O’Neil Studio for the Painted Finish in New York City. Through all these experiences, I gained a great understanding and appreciation for traditional and contemporary methods and materials. My work has developed with my chosen media, which include gilding and my own interpretation of the Japanese art of keiran-nuri.
Keiran-nuri means“chicken egg lacquer”. Traditionally it is usually produced with white eggshells on a black lacquer or grouted background. I began with this technique, but now I’ve expanded my color palette with various types of birds’ eggs: araucana, quail, pheasant, emu, duck, goose, ostrich, and even wild songbird eggs (found scattered on paths and walkways). I dispensed with the lacquer treatment, and instead use painted and gilded backgrounds. I overlay a clear gel with uv filter to protect the shell mosaics and gilding. Often, I gild the edges of panels using gold leaf or Japanese colored silver leaf, and coat these with a uv filtering varnish. Colored silver leaf is made in Japan by dipping leaves of thin silver into dyes, and has historically been used on textiles such as kimonos. Colored leaf’s appearance changes over time, as oxidation creates beautiful, delicate patterns on its surface. I love this continuing evolution of the pieces as they live in the world, interacting with air and light.
I have shown my work at galleries in New York City, the Isabel O’Neil Studio and the National Arts Club, both in New York City, and at the Johnson County Community College Gallery of Art, in Overland Park, Kansas, which has two pieces in its permanent collection. Most of my work including commissions is in private collections here and abroad.
I am inspired by the ideas of birth and rebirth, both in nature and in the man-made world, and how these collide, intertwine, separate and reshape themselves. Nature and our created environment share an osmotic relationship. I spend days walking through various terrains, seeing how living and “inanimate” forms undergo their cycles of emergence, sustenance, dematerialization and melding with others. Man and nature have an inextricable coexistence – creating pathways that are often dramatically crossed, others that are subtle, so small they can easily be overlooked. I am fascinated by the endless yielding/tension between man, nature, and time. I hope to express this in creating images that combine an accretive technique with natural and synthetic media, usually found elements from land and sea. These images are meant to promote meditation as the eye journeys, seeing smaller landscapes within the larger picture.