I collect dirt from all over the world. I am an obsessive collector and art maker. I enjoy work that is subtle, fragile and delicate. While I consider myself a conceptual artist, I embrace beauty in art and enjoy leading the viewer to see beauty in nature and all of the places that motivate me. Some things that inspire and inform my work: geochemistry, ecology, vernacular architecture, sustainable building practices, slow craft, meditation and spirituality.
Slow craft/slow art is an important facet of my work. It is similar to the concept behind slow food: making things by hand, knowing the source of the materials you use, how they are made, and valuing the skill of the maker. I delight in making art materials from scratch; I make my own paint, pastels, and charcoal. I prefer to use materials that are often overlooked and undervalued such as soil, found wood and weeds.
My approach to artwork begins with extensive research. I collect all of the historical, folkloric and cultural information I can find relating to my materials and concept. This information informs the artwork. I enjoy site-specific work where, not only is the artwork physically affected by its location, but so is its conceptual content.
Having worked with soil for over ten years, it is natural that I have become interested in soil science and geochemistry. I have begun testing soil and have become intrigued with the mineral content of soil. My dirt collection sprang from an interest in rock and soil as a source of historical pigment, which has a rich cultural and spiritual history. Red pigments and their traditional association with blood have been of particular interest to me. (Adam means â??man of red earthâ?? in ancient Hebrew.) Both blood and soil get their color from oxidized iron, and due to chronic illness, I am iron deficient. I had been drawn to red soil for years, subconsciously compensating by seeking the mineral that my body lacked in the soil. I have recently begun investigating geophagia, the compulsion to eat dirt. This is a condition thought to affect primarily women, and for the first time is being seriously researched by geochemists at Arizona State University. Soil contains important minerals and anti-diarrheal agents (kaopectate is soil derived.)
Spirituality is another important aspect of my artwork. Repetition and meditative process are unifying threads throughout my work. I am interested in Buddhist mandala forms, both for the meditative tasks involved in making them, and because I am interested in creating healing spaces. Artwork and architecture that promote healing are of particular interest to me. I am also attracted to the Native American practice of making healing sand paintings. Both use ephemeral media to create healing spaces. Ephemerality is a key component in my artwork. I am interested in religious rituals and traditions. My work is also spiritual in less defined ways; I try to create quiet, almost altar-like spaces that express my reverence for materials and nature. I love the silence and quality of light inside old churches; the space itself seems awe-inspiring. This is something I strive to recreate in my own work.
The study of alchemy has informed my work as well. I like the way it mixes spirituality and science and has a mysterious air about it. It involves research and strange organizational systems and the search for a panaceaâ??the cure all medicine.
My interest in soil and environmentalism have led me to investigate green architecture. I am fascinated by earthen plaster buildings and vernacular architecture all over the world. My site- specific work responds to architecture, so it follows that I am now interested in architecture itself. Interestingly, there is a renewed interest in creating healing environments and sacred spaces within architecture. Green roofs and plants that renew their environment are components of the green architecture movement that appeal to me, as herbalism and healing plants have long been an interest of mine.
Artwork is often a reflection of self, and mine is no different. My work is deeply personal, but at the same time it touches on many larger issues. I am drawn to floor work because of an obsessive need for grounding and stability. There is an undeniable reliance on gravity in my work. My poor health manifests itself in my attraction to healing environments and mandalas, as well as my more scientific interests. Less evident is my dependence on boundaries and barriers; as I essentially close off large sections off floor space for my installations. These works are almost always self referential, so I am closing myself off from other people. I consider myself a feminist and that appears in my work in an abstract way. Soil, fertility, iron, geophagia and growth are all traditionally associated with the feminine. I borrow an aesthetic similar to that of minimalism, but I completely disregard the lack of conceptual content associated with that philosophy. Instead, my work is infused with personal stories and emotional baggage, in a sense feminizing a traditional minimalist view.