If you ask, I will tell you I am a sculptor… who draws.
I spent the first twenty years of my professional career as a sculptor. Clay, iron. Bronze, plaster, wood, wax, found object, assemblage, needle and thread. Taking on new materials and techniques was, to me, just adding vocabulary.
Around the year 2000, in an effort to create dimensional shadows as sculptures, I accidentally moved my primary practice to drawing. Still, I draw with the meaty, material hand of a sculptor. When I paint, I move the brush like a cat trying to get tape off her tail, scraping and dragging. That may sound not too far off the norm, but to my eye, it is a far cry from filling space with a color or shaping out a form. Mine is more like frosting a cake–when there is no cake.
It helps that in the first few years of making shadow drawings, which would become my signature work, I didn’t know they were drawings. The material I used, a transparent polyester film with a cloudy surface, didn’t reference drawings or pictures. It was stuff. And, placing this stuff on the floor or ground, as I did, made the process more about catching or capturing. In the first tries, I intended to make the ink and acrylic dimensional enough to peel off the backing.
But that’s not what happened. The acrylic wouldn’t release. And I got very interested in the outcome, which didn’t look like anything I had seen before. The drawings didn’t look like art. I took that as a good sign.
In drawing they say ‘…and the first 100 don’t count.’ It means that the first hundred drawings anyone makes aren’t ‘drawings” an object, but drawing, the verb. Just doing. So I did. And did again, feeling the whisper of something substantial under the surface. I showed my artist friends and asked, “Can you see it yet?” Not yet. Maybe some believed me. The unexpected part was that I believed myself and kept pushing at it until the thing I was searching for became visible.
According to this catalog I have made 707 shadow drawings.
I started making them in 2001. By 2004 they were the focus of almost every solo show I have had.
This work is quiet and slow and exacting with me on the floor with a 00 brush working my way through a six foot drawing. Usually I have a second series of something fast and weird and messy going at the same time.
I made enamel works with human hair (see Ick Factor in shows) and then plants and fish in digital copy on mylar (see Documentation is Aesthetic); for every year of shadow drawings, there is another body of work.
Everyone likes the shadows, especially the bikes. They are easy to like—partly because the subject is relatable and the rendering appears skillful.
I like it when someone finds my other work. It takes real confidence to be the first one to say, “I like that,” pointing to human hair on trace in a wallpaper pattern.
I created this site to show the life and work of an artist. All of it.