This series came on the heels of a series of tiaras and the Evolution of Trust and Distrust. Like most of my work, these examine my self as it is shaped by experience.
I was a few years shy of 40 but looked younger. I was a college professor. I had several dozen shows under my belt. And I still experienced social friction around the fact that I look like a cupcake. I am pink and round and cute. But, my psychic resume has a lot of razor blades. As a result, people, mostly men, approach me expecting cupcake and get razor blade. It isn’t a happy experience for either of us.
The shadows started as a psychic resume in sculptural form. What would it be like if your experiences left a visible residue and you dragged them around behind you for all to see?
The idea was to make shadows tangible; flat rubbery forms that I could peel up from the ground and slap on the wall, sticky and abstract. I could make lots of them and pile car shadows up like so many pancakes, fifteen feet across. They seemed ideal byproducts of life; vital and mundane. Setting out to capture them, I instead found a strategy for drawing.Read More
At the start I tried to draw in sunlight but the shifting sun forced me to chase the forms across the page in skittering lines. Instead of capturing forms, I diagrammed fruitless human endeavor.
It wasn’t what I had meant to make- as is almost always the case in art- but I liked the thing of it and I liked the making.
Twenty-one years in, I am still using this process. I hang an evocative but common object from the studio ceiling, shine a light through it and work the resulting shadow in ink and acrylic. Years of looking revealed forms sharp to diffuse. In turn I modify materials to meet new visual criteria. I mix and evaporated inks to capture a range from crisp black to so light you can’t quite see it, just feel it there. These spaces are rendered in colorless medium which, because of its viscosity, pushes neighboring pigment into recesses, bleaching white its path. In this way, materials take on a life of their own. Contour lines dry quickly and when filled, serve as channels, directing pools of ink to flow through the drawings. The pools bubble and dry leaving marks like geologic forms from evaporated lakes.
The source objects of these drawings are essential and meaningless. They have to be complex enough to exceed my skills forcing me to pursue and invent.
There is an unexpected world in shadows. A form can be utterly familiar while completely unrecognizable. I choose objects that are intimate and figurative in nature; a horn, a bicycle, a wheel, a glass.
A shadow is anti-iconic and distant cousin to its source object. In viewing the drawings people often respond from body memory. I watched a guy squeeze his hand looking at a handlebar brake shadow.
As with the passing sun, I use repetition in the studio based drawings. One wheel drawn over its previous iteration fractures and erases what was before. This mimics how my mind manages new information. Some truth I hold gets eliminated or edited every time I learn something new. Then all the little pieces need to shift place until I find new understanding in a larger picture. This kind of knowledge is not cumulative as wheel upon wheel upon wheel becomes an intangible blur not a comprehensive whole.
The nature and subject of my inquiry shifts with each new drawing. Many use the tone of shadows to examine the space between the intimate object (this is my glass, I hold it in my hand, I got it from my family; which holds experiences and relationships.) and, the simple mundane object that is a glass.
Kenneth Baker said about my work “she has piled up shadows…to create pictorial structures that wink with recognizable details but finally force the eye to surrender to their sheer graphic brilliance.”Read Less