About the Maker


I was raised to be both skeptical and speculative, to both doubt and suspend disbelief. I was encouraged to immerse myself in stories of magic and faeries and simultaneously invited to interrogate the capitalist motives and status quo promoting strategies of commercial fantasies such as Disney productions. I opened myself to the wonder of the canopy of stars at night and the complex web of life in the bed of a creek. I honed my skills at critical thinking. It is from this milieu that I developed my sensibilities as an artist.

As a child, my creativity knew no bounds—from a sock puppet theater and plays to complicated scenes and tableaux with my toy soldiers and various found objects adapted to need. Miniatures and toys have endured as elements in my assemblage and box art. I loved tiny replicas for their charm and the ways they sparked my imagination. These objects and their ilk continue to serve as elements in my assemblage and box art.

Parody and satire have been intuitive practices from my childhood. By third grade I was already using worldbuilding to satirize, imagining the polarized society of Lovers and Haters. Events were chronicled in the “newspaper” the Lovhat Press which had only two editions. I recall almost none of the content except that there were both a Lover’s Leap and a Hater’s Leap. This kind of imaginative play with “reality” remains central to my work to this day.

This kind of imaginative play with “reality” remains central to my work to this day. This is most apparent in my “creation” of the fictitious country of Renga. This interactive collaborative project is emblematic of much of my formative work beginning in my studies at Hampshire College. I created a narrative of the social and geographic history of the country. I made artifacts that might infiltrate US awareness such as imports from or descriptions of this country. This includes a fake National Geographic pictorial essay and postal cancellations. I also recruited collaborators to write Gourmet magazine style articles about the cuisine and “collect” Renganese folksongs and traditional dances.

For much of my career I centered this kind of interactive work, “guerilla” performance and exhibition. For Quik Action, done while in my MFA program at Stanford University, I placed altered boxes of Nestle Quik on supermarket shelves to promote a boycott of the company’s products. I created the documentation of a political protest that never took place.

With the advent of digital technology, I made numerous interactive websites. The most significant was the result of 8 years of research on metaphors and idioms about dogs. This language-based inquiry was illustrated and posted online (The Canine in Conversation).

Until recently I was not drawn to more familiar gallery suitable media such as printmaking or sculpture. While I periodically engaged in assemblage work it was created for specific small audiences, some with an audience of one. For instance, I might make a piece in response to something another artist had made creating a visual conversation.

Ten years ago, I embarked on a series of compartmented boxes, each cubbyhole containing a small evocative object, including some of those toys and miniatures from my childhood. While these boxes are potentially suited to gallery exhibition, instead I had friends simultaneously display the pieces in the homes for selected audiences, adding a participatory element to the work.

In the last five years I have been drawn to digital collage. I have long considered heads and skulls as possible containers. My current print series uses pictures of human heads where the inside of the skull is exposed revealing not the brain itself but representations of the thoughts and feelings I imagine to be found there. I am soon to embark on a three-dimensional version made from model skulls. The themes are sometimes humorous, sometimes social commentary and at times simply visually appealing.

The tension between finding wonder and awe in the world around me and my critical analysis of the political and social realities continues to flow through my work. I still ask my viewers to suspend disbelief to the end of causing them to be skeptical of official realities.

I expect to continue to look for the medium and mode of presentation that is most suitable for what I want to convey when the time comes. I am excited and curious to see where this leads me.

Artist Résumé
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