My work addresses the subjectivity of perception and the dynamic nature of memory. Like a Rorschach test can reveal secrets of the psyche from an inkblot, or finding images in the clouds, the human mind conjures an array of imagery constructed from a single literal source. In a similar fashion, the essence of my images is the feelings conveyed rather than the details. As illustrated in Akira Kurosawa’s film Rashomon, we all perceive moments and events through our own lens. They can be perceived wildly different from the person next to us. By utilizing gesso to combine with the photographic dyes of a c-print and transferring them to a new substrate, the photograph becomes a pictorial moment that straddles the line between photographic representation and a painterly representation, wandering between realism and expressionism. The image has been altered through the process, just as our perception has been influenced by our experiences and beliefs.
At first glance, to most viewers the veiling c-prints portray urban decay. The cities or parts of a city that inhabit them fall into disrepair and decrepitude. The disintegrating images bring to mind depopulation, abandonment, unemployment, crime, and fragmented families. The impermanence of civilization is on the minds of many, especially in hard economic times.
Yet the images are fluid not a fixed form, memories and dreams begin to play at the viewer’s experience. We derive our own thoughts and conclusions. We create our own narratives. I see the cusp of a dream world where squeezing a building yields a rainbow . A “neverland” where the wind is so strong that the sidewalk is flapping in the breeze; Or a cab appears as though it is about to go over a waterfall and have an amazing adventure.
Our lives are built upon a continuum of moments and countless decisions—many of which seem completely insignificant. Only with the luxury of hindsight can we see the gravity of those decisive moments that significantly changed our lives. Should you go to the dance or the frat party? Do you take five and listen to the horses run, or keep moving on? Sticking to a calculated path, or changing your mind at the last minute can have a profound effect upon your future, but it’s completely unknown to you at that moment. My current portfolio takes those moments into consideration. Not only those but also the missed opportunities just beyond our reach. Our triumphs and our regrets have the same lasting effects upon us and guide us on our own unique paths.
I find the idea of a “hoarder” or a “packrat” intriguing as I myself have many precious objects, but not to an extreme. My objects include my grandmother’s watch and my grandfather’s sweater—not 27 years worth of newspapers (only because I read newspapers online). I noticed while watching the TLC show “Hoarders” there is a common thread of grief among the “hoarders” and their condition made more sense. I realized their grief was like an anchor and they were stuck—held in place by this weight. Many people are able to hoist their grief up and carry on, but they aren’t. Their collected objects are an expression of their grief, and their objects are a way to hold on to who they have lost. Their objects becoming a physical embodiment of their past, and it is people and moments that they are really holding onto.
In the mid 80’s there was an anthology television series “Amazing Stories” created by Steven Spielberg. One of the episodes was called “Gather Ye Acorns” which starred Mark Hamill as the main character. In this episode Hamill’s character loved collecting comics, baseball cards, and action figures – much to the dismay of his parents who wanted him to stop being a dreamer. An ancient troll appeared to him and told him not to worry and that the word needed more dreamers. That concept of holding on to what you love resonated with me even as a little kid. “Gather Ye Acorns” presents the idea of atypical treasures. My treasures are paired with my memories-creating talismans not of grief, but expressions of happy memories and a bit of humor.
A handful of stones always brings me back to the rocky shores of Maine where I spent many summers. A paintbrush is a reminder of my immigrant great-grandfather, who took a job painting houses to get by because no one else would hire him even though he was qualified for more. Newspapers take me back to when I was a paper girl and I would take a nap at my friend Meghan’s house mid route and would finish the route in the early evening. And every rose is a reminder of answered prayers.