don’t breathe a word

I am not sure exactly why I have been silent here this fall; it could be that I am overwhelmed with the amount of work that I need to do, both for AIB and with my return to my full time teaching position at SCC. I am sure that I do not know how to begin to say what needs to be said. It is quite probable that as the days grow nearer to graduation the perfectionist in me is winning, that in search for the right answer, the best work, the correct opinion of what my thesis needs to say I have no words. Like there is a correct opinion . . .

I can say that I am ruminating; my thoughts not clear on my new processes. I work in fits and spits of inspiration and before being distracted by my responsibilities, all the while thoughts my editor in my head says, it’s not perfect, you are not disciplined enough in your art making. This is not new to me; unless I am playing this has always been my process. There is always the moment for me as I am working on something new that reminds me of “the deep breath before the plunge,” diving into the deep end of the pool and not knowing how to swim. Sometimes I just want to know where the joy went. I don’t feel this when I play, but it is in the approach that changes everything for me. When did making art and writing become a job on my endless list of things to do that never gets crossed out.

Amongst a number of pieces I am working on I am playing with a chair that I have stripped of all but its skeleton, looking for its foundation, later I hope to make the chair deceptively comfortable, letting others view its hidden dangers. In times of chaos and insecurity I need to find structure.

the end is where we start from

It is an odd place to be at the beginning of the end, the last term, of a journey for me that has taken nearly a decade. Yet there is much to do and accomplish this term. I am surprisingly calm even in the face of an overwhelming amount needing to get done.

My thesis paper needs to be researched and written because I have changed my materials and the presentation of my work. This was necessary. I could have chosen an easier route, stayed with photography as the most appropriate medium for the expression of this body of work. But I found that by using objects and manipulating them I am able to express fully what I need to say. I will to continue to explore and create additional pieces in order to come to my final exhibition installation.

It is a good place to be.

bookshelf :: spring 09

For archival purposes I am publishing my reading list for spring 09. If you are curious about any of these books I have most of them and could give you feedback before you decide to check them out or make purchases.

  • Philip Armstrong :: As Painting: Division and Displacement
  • Sylvan Barnet :: A Short Guide to Writing about Art
  • Terry Barrett :: Criticizing Photographs, An Introduction to Understanding Images
  • Bill Beckley :: Uncontrollable Beauty: Toward a New Aesthetics
  • Nicolas Bourriaud :: Postproduction
  • David Campany:: Art and Photography
  • Rainer Crone :: Louise Bourgeois The Secret of the Cells
  • Keith Davis, Susan Krane, Britt Salvesen, and Claire Carter :: At the Crossroads of American Photography: Callahan, Siskind, Sommer
  • Catherine M. DeZegher :: Inside the Visible an elliptical traverse of the 20th century art, in, of, and from the feminine
  • Larry Fink :: Social Graces
  • Hal Foster :: The Return of the Real
  • Tierney Gearon :: Daddy where are you?
  • Elizabeth Grosz :: Volatile Bodies: Toward a Corporeal Feminine
  • Kay Redfield Jamison :: Touched with Fire Manic-Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament
  • Donald Kuspit :: The End of Art
  • Anne Lamott :: Bird by Bird Some Instructions on Writing and Life
  • Lucy Lippard :: Overlay: Contemporary Art and the Art of Prehistory
  • Francis Morris :: Louise Bourgeois
  • Mignon Nixon :: Fantastic Reality: Louise Bourgeois and a Story of Modern Art
  • Gerhard Richter :: Atlas
  • Kimberlee Roth :: Surviving a Borderline Parent: How to Heal Your Childhood Wounds and Build Trust, Boundaries, and Self-Esteem
  • Susan Sontag :: Regarding the Pain of Others
  • Botho Strau :: Gerhard Richter: Overpainted Photographs
  • SarahThornton :: Seven Days in the Art World
  • Glenn Ward :: Teach Yourself Postmodernism
  • Tracey Warr :: The Artist's Body
  • Art in America
  • Artforum
  • Aperture

museum :: gallery :: spring 09

For archival purposes I am publishing the museums and galleries that I visited during the spring 09 term.

  • SMoCA :: Emmet Gowin :: Photography Symposium
  • Phoenix, AZ :: Janet Echelman :: Her Secret is Patience
  • Center for Creative Photography :: The Photographs of Linda Connor :: Odyssey
  • The Gallery @ the Library :: Scottsdale Civic Center Library :: Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reefs :: The Institute for Figuring and Companions
  • Bentley Gallery :: Ulrike Arnold :: Stone and Stardust
  • Bentley Gallery :: Ellen Wagener :: Not Quite Paradise
  • Gebert Contemporary :: John Randall Nelson :: Paintings, Drawings, and Sculpture
  • Lisa Sette Gallery :: Alan Bur Johnson :: Swarm
  • SMoCA :: At the Crossroads of American Photography: Callahan, Siskind, Sommer
  • @Central Gallery :: Lasting Light 125 Years of Grand Canyon Photogrpahy
  • Lisa Sette Gallery :: Angela Ellsworth :: Underpinnings
  • Nielsen Gallery :: Sedrick Huckaby :: Paintings & Drawings
  • Judi Rotenberg Gallery :: Zack Storm :: Post - Post & The Apocalypse Somewhere
  • Judi Rotenberg Gallery :: Douglas Weathersby :: ES Inaugural Retrospective and Storage Loft
  • The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston :: Rachel Whiteread
  • The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston :: Photographic Figures

artists :: spring 09

For archival purposes I am posting the artists I looked at the spring 09.
  • Louise Bourgeois
  • Paul Chan
  • Angella Ellsworth
  • Larry Fink
  • Tierney Gearon
  • Cai Guo-Qiang
  • Maria Adelaida Lopez
  • Anna Mendieta
  • Janice Redman
  • Francesca Woodman

completion without end

Sharing a quote I found in a book called As Painting: Division and Displacement by Philip Armstrong, Laura Lisbon, and Stephen Melville. These words again reference to this idea of the completion and the continuance of the creation of art.
"But this completion without end—or rather, this finite finishing, if one attempts to understand thereby a completion that limits itself to what is, but that, to achieve that very thing, opens the possibility of another completion, and that is therefore also infinite finishing—this paradoxical mode of per-fection is doubtless what our whole tradition demands one to think and avoids thinking at the same time."
—Jean-Luc Nancy
As I focus on bringing together all the various form of my art into one cohesive body I look to other artists who work in various forms and mediums at once, each practice informing the body of work as a whole.

never finished

It is as the term comes to its resolution with final paperwork due and a body of work to complete, that my anticipation of what I wanted to accomplish become a long term laundry list of things to do. It feels like something I read on a blog called accidental creative by Todd Henry.
“It will never be good enough. It will never cease, and there will always be more to do . . . Because the work of art is never finished. As long as there are patterns to form, as long as there is meaning to discern, as long as there are realities to reveal, the mind will continue trying to do what it does. . . I am an unfinished sentence. But if we approach our days with possibility and hope we can see not all that is left undone, but all that is left to do. . . We need to see what is unfinished as a gift to be unpacked rather than a burden to be born.” Todd Henry
As a perfectionist and as a goal-oriented person these words resonate with me. For the past decade I have become aware of my need to see my art and my life as an ever-evolving process. Nothing in my life is finished, completed, or fixed. My past, present, and future are all one continuum, just as my photographs speak to and inform my objects, as one body of work supports another.

So I refocus on being in the creative process and move forward.

During the past month I have worked on and hopefully completed all my research papers, met with my mentor Marie Navarre, had final critiques, and put up a show of some of my new body of work bind. This term I have evolved from taking images of my family members, to creating three-dimensional art to express my childhood memories. While working I have found these new materials and the process of creating these objects more time consuming than I had anticipated. Despite my goal oriented expectations and desire to have more accomplished I will continue to add build this body of work until our June residency.

words and reflections

I needed to examine the silenced experiences of my childhood. Ignored and forgotten, years of my life had been swept away, never to be acknowledged. These memories, like crumbs that were swept into the floorboards, crumbs eventually covered by rugs; the rugs became stories of replacement. My memories were traded for the pretense of perfection in order to create the flawless family snapshot.

My need to express these invisible behaviors and how I felt as a child took various forms. I obsessively wrapped objects, examined the scars and the holes this left in my life, and I opened my eyes to the disintegration of my family. Looking back at my perceived role as the person needed to hold the broken pieces together, driven to protect our family from all judgment that might potentially poke a hole into our ideal image.

I intuitively gathered objects that I was drawn to and then I contemplated their role in my childhood and family dysfunction. I then began to recreate some of the compulsive behaviors by binding these pieces until they no longer had a useful function.

I took my emotional scars and began to make them visible by wrapping my own body and creating temporary scars. I experimented to give my body the holes and missing pieces that I have discovered in my life.

With my anger, I conveyed the deterioration of my childhood by going back to some of the painful events that felt so much to me like empty shells and destroyed them; only futilely attempt to piece them together again.

I needed to give form to the years of my past that had no voice. The stories that were confined within the walls of our house needed break free and be expressed. When we have pieces missing in our histories, when we are lacking the integrity and structure of our immediate family, the holes that are left are gaping wounds; we watch the missing pieces become invisible disintegrating into dust.

industrial reef

Yesterday at the Scottsdale Civic Center Library I went to the opening of the Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reefs by The Institute For Figuring and Companions. The Institute For Figuring, directed by Christine and Margaret Wertheim, is dedicated to the poetic and aesthetic dimensions of science, mathematics and the technical arts. It was amazing to see the community come together to create such a beautiful public art project. This exhibit will be up until July 11, 2009 for anyone who wants to see this recycled reef.

Welcoming you into the library is the recycled art of the industrial sea by Joe Willie Smith. I have been documenting process and it has been extraordinary to see 200 pounds of recycled industrial strapping turn into gigantic jellyfish floating in the air!

yin yang

It seems like so much needs to be created in order to uncover art that speaks in our voice. When visiting SMoCA we went on a gallery talk by Claire Carter. While viewing the exhibit At the Crossroads of American Photography: Callahan, Siskind, Sommer, I was grateful to hear that Callahan had over 300,000 negatives as part of his estate when he passed away. Creating art is hard work, it is dedication and it takes many failures to get to the image that sings. Even for someone as brilliant as Harry Callahan. When re-reading a portion of Art and Fear by David Bayless I am again reminded “ the function of the overwhelming majority of your artwork is simply to teach you how to make the small fraction of your artwork that soars. One of the basic and difficult lessons that every artist must learn is the even the failed pieces are essential.”

After a number of critiques of my most recent work, I have become aware of all the voices in my head the self editors that whisper even before the work leaves its perfection in my mind and fly out there to be born in my imperfect hands. I hear so many voices mumble softly, they will think you are angry or that you are crazy. Who are “they” and who cares . . . I care as I hear the voices of guilt and protection, protection for my mother and judgment that could break her, protection of my father’s absence, and my silence in dealing with my first eight years of life, as if my memories didn’t exist. The hiding of these times trained me to search for the dark reality I needed to face. I am the yin to my family’s yang. I need to be free to express my memories so these secrets are no more, yet this secret is the tie that binds, the invisible string that makes me responsible for keeping up the pretence set in motion decades ago. I will continue to push my missing me images exploring all the things I missed, the secrets unspoken, speak.

I remember the book Are You My Mother? As a child I loved this book and related to this little bird who wondered where his mother was. I wondered what it really meant to have a mother, what was it like to bond with the one gave birth to you, what was it like to be cared for and nurtured by your mother. I was missing something, as foundational as who is my mother? As a child I was always uncertain how to deal with these labels because the roles family members took on were not the names I called them. When it came to men our family they were more invisible than my childhood.

Even here in this moment of writing this the thoughts in my head urge me to balance this with my acceptance of my life and I choose it, to write of all the positive aspects that I have acquired because of the challenges I faced and to tell you my mother did the best she could do. I know this and recognize that she has grown and become the best person she can be.

Meanwhile, our show during Art Detour 21 at Jackson Street Studios was a tremendous amount of work but well worth it. It was great to interact with people coming in and looking at my work, some with questions, others with observations. There was a continuous flow of traffic all weekend that was noticeably busier on Friday night. At the same time I had two pieces chosen by Melanie and Michelle of Tilt Gallery up in their Back Room. It is a lovely little space where people congregate around great appetizers and wine. During conversations I often look up and around me at their room size cabinets of curiosity. I was honored to have Grammie at Ninety and Natalie at Six in this space. That Saturday the kids from Faith North Montessori School’s Story Art Program put out handmade books, matted photographs, and both watercolor and photo blank cards in the Downtown Phoenix Markets. They had a great time sharing their work and talking with customers about the art they created this term.

On a lighter note Christopher reminded to play . . . even though I continue to re-learn to do this. So I will play and push and make a mess of it all breaking down the pretence of perfection and create the falling apart and putting together the pieces of my life just as I needed to do as a child.

four weeks

It’s been a full four weeks since
I last wrote. Where to begin?

When I returned from my residency
I began to help prepare for a workshop with Jill Enfield at the Tilt Gallery in Phoenix. We had a great weekend together creating both digital negatives and alternative negatives with Jill. One of the women in the workshop Linda Ingraham pulled together a number of artists for a show in the Jackson Street Studios for Art March Detour. So as one of seven artists we have been working hard to promote these studios with ads, postcards, and a press releases. I have been preparing my most recent images for that show. The same weekend I will also have a few of my Ziatype historical process images in the backroom of the Tilt Gallery.

Another project I have been collaborating on is After School Story Art at Faith Montessori School in Phoenix. I have been co-teaching on Tuesday nights with Wendy Hicks and Donna Blumfeld. We have been working with the children teaching art, story, and photography. One of the big events that we are participating in is Art Detour. We have been busy preparing for the show. The children have created watercolors, mono prints, photographs, and handmade books all for sale at the Downtown Phoenix Public Market on Saturday of Art detour.

This month I have finally found and I am working with a wonderful new mentor, Marie Navarre. We have met, discussed my work and some explorations for me to begin in mark making and will meet again in the next few weeks. In talking about my work Marie brought into focus an observation in what I am trying to express about my imagery, she said that expressing what I felt as a child or adolescent in my home and my reaction to it now are very different expressions, feelings, and marks. It brought to light awareness, a specificity in both looking at and creating my work that I had not seen before.

As I began to explore mark making this term I am also seeing a shift to marks that are not directly made but are artifacts or traces of marks. For example I am more interested in impressions, stamps, brands, embossing, cuts, and scratches, like my image of the teeth marks left in the styrofoam cup rather than lines make with pens, pencils, or paint. I also feel that the kinds of marks I am drawn to inform my investigation into the scars that are not visible, that may not even be physical but psychological impressions left over from a lifetime of behaviors.

A friend told me when I started my master program to rummage around and without reason collect and surround myself with the things that I was drawn to. This past fall and this spring I have given myself the opportunity and commitment to do this. I have become conscious that there may also be a connection on how I felt as a child and to the containers that I have been collecting. I have always loved packages, suitcases, boxes, and not necessarily for what is inside but as holders with handles, fasteners, and locks. I wonder about these items that contain, hold, and define boundaries of inside and outside, the things unspoken, the appearance of perfection, my fluid reality.

The past week I have had a sinus infection along with a bad cold and to top it all off I managed to fall up and on my stairs hitting my hand and arm hard enough to leave swelling and bruises, breaking the mug I was holding in my hand leaving a few cuts. So I am a bit behind in finishing my paper and posting my new work. I will have everything posted before the end of the week.

allegory . mark-making

It has only been two weeks since we left the residency and somehow I feel like I am behind. I am still trying to finalize a mentor, have just finished my residency summary and working on my list of books. We have only just begun and I am sure this term will fly by.

My goal this term is continue to find ways to create images that let the viewer feel what I felt as a child growing up in a dysfunctional family. I will persist in my newest vein, working with the psychology of mental illness and addiction and the effects it had on me as a child. I will deal with the concept of empty spaces, loneliness, and isolation as well as anger, grief, and loss. I am extremely excited about pursuing the idea of scars, whether visible or invisible left by being part of a family with mental illness. I want to pursue mark making as an expression of some of the scars, cuts, and tensions felt and layer this with some of my photography.

During the residency a great deal of the discussion focused on the holes, punctures, and the shot from the shotgun. I was advised to research artists that were affected by mental illness and in particular to examine their mark making. I will also need to research the use of the gun and how it has been used to create art, whether through performance art or as with mine, shooting the artwork itself.

One way I want to move forward this term will be to continue to express my specific story through scarring and mark-making and hone in on some of these descriptions focusing in a very specific aspect, like the splitting of the mind with schizophrenia, or the fractured self, disintegration, falling apart, or the futility to keep something together that can’t be kept together. During the critiques I realized the duality that occurs while I create images that are extremely specific to me while at the same time, as I express broad fundamental concepts opening the framework to including more interpretations of my work.

A new concept, the concept of home started showing up in my photos relatively late in the term. I discovered this while grouping and sequencing my images for my portfolio. Only then did I realize that I had also unconsciously made a secondary group of images. I don’t know if I will directly pursue this direction this term but will continue to look for any reoccurrences in my work.

As I question my work it is good to see where others agree, where I can take in new insights, and even when I can be exposed to perspectives much different than my own. This term I found a way forward to finally express myself using contemporary tools, while beginning to create art that is rooted in my family culture and reflective of my experiences. At this residency, I felt my voice, which had been silent, speak in my images.

artists :: fall 08

For archival purposes I am posting the artists I looked during Fall 08 term.

Diane Arbus
Tina Barney
Dan Estabrook
Anna Gaskell
Loretta Lux
Raymond Meeks
Sarah Moon
France Scully Osterman
Robert and Shana ParkeHarrison
Arthur Tress

museum :: gallery :: fall 08

For archival purposes I am publishing the museums and galleries that I visited during the fall 08 term.

The Norton Simon Museum :: The Art of War: American Posters from World War I andWorld War II
The Norton Simon Museum :: Vermeer :: A Lady in Writing
Desert Botanical Garden :: Chilhuly :: The Nature of Glass
The Ice House :: Barri Chase :: The Fiber of the Matter
Tilt Gallery :: France Scully Osterman :: Natures Second Course
River Gallery Fine Art :: Mark Chatterley :: Figures, Creatures and Crows
Tilt Gallery :: 2nd Annual Photography Re-Imagined
Los Angeles County Museum of Art :: Philip-Lorca diCorcia :: A Thousand Polaroids
The Getty :: August Sander :: People of the Twentieth Century
The Getty :: Bernd and Hilla Becher :: Basic Forms
Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego :: Elusive Signs :: Bruce Neuman Works With Light
Three Pines Studio :: Marsha Fletcher :: Felt Sculptures
The University of Michigan Museum of Art :: Paul Outerbridge: Color Photographs from
Mexico and California, the 1950’s
Barbara Krakow Gallery :: Michael Beatty: Perimeter
The Institute of Contemporary Art Boston :: Anish Kipoor: Past, Present, Future
MIT List Visual Arts Center :: Chantal Akerman: Moving through Time and Space
The Green Center MIT :: Sol LeWitt: Bars of Color within Squares
The Photographic Resource Center :: Exposure: The 13th Annual PRC Juried Exhibition
Bromfield Gallery :: Linda Klein: Eschatology II, Jemison Faust: Gateways
Gallery XIV :: Chris Hauck: Identity Crisis: everything is for sale
The Kingston Gallery :: Catelin Mathers-Suter: Landscapes
Bernard Toale Gallery :: Abelardo Morell: Pictures in Pictures, Naoki Honji: Small Planet, Remi Thorton: Photographs

bookshelf :: fall 08

For archival purposes I am publishing my reading list for fall 08. If you are curious about any of these books I have most of them and could give you feedback before you decide to check them out or make purchases.

Flesh & Blood: Photographers' Images of Their Own Families by Ann Beattie
The Contest of Meaning by Richard Bolton
Art Photography Now by Susan Bright
So the Story Goes: Photographs by Tina Barney, Philip-Lorca diCorcia, Nan Goldin,
SallyMann, and Larry Sultan by Katherine A. Bussard
Anna Gaskell by Bonnie Clearwater
The Photograph as Contemporary Art by Charlotte Cotton
Anna Gaskell - Half Life by Matthew Drutt
The Object Stares Back: On the Nature of Seeing by James Elkins
Family Ties: A Contemporary Perspective by Trevor Fairborther
Beauty and the Contemporary Sublime by Jeremy Gilbert-Rolfe
Gregory Crewdson 1985-2005 by Martin Hochleiter
The Book of Alternative Photographic Processes by Christopher James
The Photography Book by Ian Jeffery
Anna Gaskell by Thom Jones
Basic Critical Theory for Photographers by Ashley la Grange
Photography Reborn: Image Making in the Digital Era by Jonathan Lipkin
Deep South by Sally Mann
The Sound of Summer Running by Raymond Meeks
Arthur Tress: The Dream Collector by John Minahan
Treadwell by Andrea Modica
Boys and Girls: Superheroes in the Doll Corner by Vivian Gussin Paley
Little Red Riding Hood by Charles Perrault

the desert smells like rain

I have lost track of my days as the end of the year approaches. It seems like a few nights ago we went to the desert botanical gardens to take an evening walk through the desert with paths glimmering from the luminarias. Last time we went to see las noches de las luminarias for the holidays it was so packed with people it was hard to enjoy. Last Thursday the experience was more intimate and along with the luminarias we enjoyed the exhibit Chilhuly: The Nature of Glass at Night. Some pieces were more organic and placed within the desert environment, growing out of the ground, being built up into forms that represented desert plant forms, and some became ice floating on the pond. Other pieces were placed into boats or hung like chandeliers. It was beautiful to see the art and luminarias glowing all the while the desert smelled like rain.


Having reviewed my terms work with my mentor Christopher and focusing on wrapping things up for the January residency I decided my objective will be to focus on creating images that let the viewer feel what I felt as a child growing up in a dysfunctional family. We had a great discussion of what he saw in my work that had impact, potential for further development, as well as keeping my work personal. At the same time we talked about preserving the balance in my life as I continued to examine the secrets and silent issues of my past.

After much consideration of what specific direction I should take to move forward in my work, I have decided to focus on a few relating concepts. This exploration will allow me to continue working with the psychology of mental illness and the effects it had on me as a child.

I will continue to explore my empty spaces and memories of being alone both physically and emotionally. I will continue to find ways to illustrate this feeling of isolation that many children and teens experience. I will also look for subtle ways to reveal how I felt as a child without being stereotypic, as in the finger on a string image, leaving more for the viewer to interpret, rather than my more cliché images like the noose over the jungle gym. I want to continue to explore boundaries in my family: what is it that I cannot see or touch, where am I not able to go? I will investigate through the use of props and traditional boundary markers and electrical dog flags, childproof gates, and other barriers.

I will explore the childhood experiences that leave scars, finding methods to visualize the traces left behind. I will persist working with rope and various forms of string, but in a way that also reflects how I felt as a child to be emotionally confined, to be pulled so tight in multiple directions until there is nothing left inside. What scars do I have and how can I use string to leave temporary scars on my body?

Lastly I want to continue my work on the missing me and loss pieces in which I used leftover 8.5” x 11” paper that my family used as target practice. These pieces begin to represent and get at some my anger, grief, and loss of my childhood. I will continue to use myself, as well as other collected images and either mask them with my own targets or make the images into targets, communicating where my holes are, and what it is that I have missed.

roller coaster

As this term nears completion I feel I am on the edge of approaching resolution on a number of issues that I have been working through this term. It seems in the program at AIB that we have our artist statement, bibliography, and residency summary due before I have completed all I intend to due for the residency. Or perhaps it is just my process of working up until the last moment possible. I do know that both this term and last I found that the “thought pieces” really pushed my work conceptually. Until they had been researched and written what I envisioned did not have a chance to become a physical part of my work. This seems to come late in the term but it’s possible that it is just all part of this process we are in.

I have been struggling with media and choices artists make regarding tools while creating their art. I have gone outside the box to try to express some of those issues in my family that are not talked about. These issues do not have words, nor are they looked at or acknowledged by anyone else in the family. I have been wondering why it is that I don’t know what this fear and anxiety in my family look like? I thought I should know as I have looked at it most my life, but then I realized my eyes haven’t really been open. Then last time I was home I experienced a moment of confrontation and stress. It was then I realized that I too did not look, within that tension my family members looked away. We stared at the wall, we stared at the ground, and only shadows crept into my peripheral vision. We did not see each other. I see this reflected in many of my photographs that include two or more people. We are all blind; we do not look into each other’s eyes.

All the while at the forefront of my thoughts where am I going conceptually and what is the most appropriate way for me to express it. I believe that I found my direction and yet I want to create more images to see it unfold, discover the details to be worked out and fine-tune my concept. This I know will be the most important question I need to ask myself in order to be ready for critiques in January.

During this time my sister Becca has been in and out of the hospital more times than I can ever remember, this year I have actually lost count. These hospitalizations affect everyone in our family; it is scary, it brings on fear and our anxiety of the unknown. As with anyone suicidal tendencies we all fear the worst possible outcome. For my family it becomes especially stressful during the holidays. I only hope when the hospital releases her after Thanksgiving that this time her meds will be working and she won’t be hearing voices, experience her manic highs and lows, or believe and act on her delusions. Time takes its toll on my parents who support her. I just don’t know how much more they can take.

As for me I wish for a life without chaos around each corner and to get off the roller coaster ride.

missing me

Last weekend was First Friday downtown Phoenix. I have been waiting for this weekend for sometime to see the closing reception of France Scully Oysterman’s show, Natures Second Course. Unfortunately I was out east when she spoke in Tucson and for her opening at the Tilt Gallery. I wanted to see her images from her series Bed and Sleep, I was especially looking at how viewers respond to her work done in Wet Plate Collodion interpreted in the salt printing process. At the show my friend Wendy observed that her favorite were the images of Bed, since they the largest images, were nearly life size, and warm in tone. She felt like she was being invited to go into the bed and sleep whereas the images in Sleep, she became the observer.

Oysterman’s large images were scanned, reproduced digitally, and some were printed on Japanese rice paper. The only time a photographic process comes into question for me is when it becomes the focus or more important than the image. It is when the process becomes the filter through which I see the image, as Sara Moon spoke of color I think it is true as well for photographic processes. I am beginning to believe for most people it is not the question of process but the question of tone and color that speak to the viewer, and how appropriate it is for the support of the concept.

I also went to The Ice House, and amazing old building, obviously at one time was the ice house in Phoenix, that now houses studio space and exhibitions on the first floor. The Fiber of the Matter was on exhibition and a friend Barri Chase had a piece in the show. There were many diverse pieces created with alternative fiber arts as well as a performance piece. Barri’s installation was created with human hair, felted and woven into balls that sometimes became nests when combined with branches inside of an old freight elevator.

I beyond my photography I have been exploring some of my family issues through objects and remains of what I brought back from my trip. I had gathered up some throw away things that were discarded by my family but gave me a ‘trace’ of our history. Specifically I have been working on a strings attached project with symbols of all the things in my family that have a string attached to them. Another piece called missing me where I am examining what was missed by the adults in my family. For me these images relate and support my work and exploration into my family relationships, childhood memories, and are helping me dig deeper into my childhood fears that were never looked at.


"Fear makes the wolf bigger that he is." - German Proverb

This image is from Sarah Moons book Little Red Riding Hood

I have been looking at dysfunctional behaviors and how that effects family relationships. I have been intently looking at anxiety and fear and the role that fairy tales, scary movies and psychological thrillers play in providing comfort and support for a child in an unstable family life. I began to look at other artists who are creating images in narrative form based on stories. After my eggshell series my friend Cheryl commented on Arthur Tress, specifically his Dream Collector series. His process is recreating children's dreams with them that are often full of dread. I also read about Anna Gaskell and have recently purchased a few of her books. All three of these artists have utilized story and myth, used props, set the stage, and creates an environment of anxiety, fear, and apprehension.

A favorite story I came across as an adult is The Monster That Grew Small by Joan Grant. It is a tale of a boy in a village who is afraid of everything. One day he helps our a rabbits and the rabbit grants him a wish. He wishes for courage and with the aid of the rabbit sets out on his journey to defeat the great dragon that lives above them high in the mountains. The closer the boy is to this dragon the smaller the dragon gets. Finally the boy takes the dragon home as a pet, more importantly the boy conquers his fears.