Memories of past events and loss experienced by others have often been the focus of my work, as I have always identified with a struggle to forget in a culture where private moments of grief and despair are often witnessed in public ways. Newspapers, the Internet and television shows that feature depictions of personal tragedy often foster apathetic ways of witnessing the world around us. To counter these alienating depictions of private spectacle, I favor a sensual approach to art making and imbue my work with tactile qualities of the handmade. Building paintings from a series of repetitive gestures is a slow process where I form a sense of identification with others.

I began this investigation with a series of petit points and paintings depicting horrific personal tragedy. These were built laboriously, pixel by pixel, from digital images culled from the Internet. Here the grid served as a matrix uniting the process of craft with that of the pixilated digital image. Moreover, I employed digital technologies to slow my process down rather than speed it up. This in tandem with the scars and blemishes created by the mistakes of my hand served as a counterpoint to the high-resolution, digital images we are generally bombarded with, rendering the painted and stitched versions more palpable than the original sources.

Following this initial research, I traveled to disaster sites pictured in historic photographs and re-documented these places for use as subjects for painting. In doing so I worked to avoid the documentary impulse to be objective and instead focused on banal imagery that overtly excluded the reality of the disasters that once occurred at the site. Fleeting presences and images of things left behind—such as mattresses dumped in the woods, clouds floating overhead, and wildflowers growing up though the cracks in the sidewalk—characterizes much of this work. The images in these paintings are willingly unresolved and are partially obscured with surface embellishments that include thousands of tiny, sinuous brush strokes, and colorful hand-stitches that hold beads and sequins to the paper. Part requiem and part cathartic obsession, I work to simultaneously test the imprint of my own presence while using mark making to record the passage of time. A meticulous attention to detail stimulates viewers to get close to the work. It is at this range where I provide a space for poetic engagement and evoke sentiments of loss and grief.

My works entitled Dark Watercolors are also somber in tone. Here the color grey is achieved, not through a mixture of black and white, but by layering many different saturated washes of color over one another until they cancel each other out. Sometimes the color drips and evidence of layers can be seen in the final surfaces under certain lighting conditions, or at the edges of the paper. Passing my squirrel hair brush from edge to edge and tracing my pencils across the surface, over and over, I linger in the slow and laborious process of building these paintings. Constructed from the large sweeping gesture of my arm, they are a direct expression of my physical body imprinted onto the paper. Having recently being diagnosed with Parkinson’s, the act of mark making is at times difficult, and the process of keeping a steady hand requires a great deal of focus.

Weaving has also become a new tool in my process of discovery. The passing of thread back and forth to produce the warp and weft of fabric is akin to my painting process. The colored fibers act in new and unexpected ways, giving me clues for where to explore and push the watercolors. Inspired by the weavings, the finished watercolors are hand stitched, giving the surfaces sensuality when they catch the light from a particular vantage point. This richness becomes invisible when you move to another point of view. Thus, allusions to the blind spots and limitations of representation are suggested in these works, as their nuances are not always seen at first glance--mainly due to their shadowy quality--and their rich surface detail demands a second look.

I have also begun developing an entirely new body of work based on the patterns taken from my husband’s shirts. These pieces are varied in both stylistic and material approach and consist of paintings on linen, wood, and weavings. Much more intimate in scope than my previous works, the process of making these paintings is a labor of love. Built by mixing a new palette for each painting session, slight variations in color are visible in their surfaces. Each work becomes a monument to the labor that comprises it. While these paintings document a life shared, they also edge their way into the space of abstraction.

Allthough my my work can seem quite varied, overall I equate my process as a point of identification with others rather than being solely about the craft of painting. I employ repetition to fill a void marked by the inadequacies of commemorating past events or comprehending my relationships with others. It is in these private, performative acts of making that I hide my regrets and my fears, yet find myself slipping into moments of reverie.