The Japanese have a poetic phrase, “mono no aware”, which recognizes the pathos of things, a sensitivity towards ephemera. Things that don’t last become dear to us. I don’t set out to create things that don’t last, but in the course of life I have encountered loss and change and many times that becomes reflected in my work.
In the beginning of my career I learned to weld because I thought it would make me strong and I could make things that had a long life span. It soon became clear that that I tended not treat steel and metal materials as inflexible or rigid, but rather as pliable material to be manipulated into softer shapes. I don’t have preconceived ideas about materials or subjects, rather I listen to the work/idea and what it wants to be.
I thought I would be a painter when I entered art school but I had a mentor who recognized that I see things in three dimensions. I count Robert Rauschenberg’s work as an early influence: he took from our culture and nothing was off limits. This framed my view and sparked an era of using “common” things – things walked on, discarded,
I lived and worked in Portland for many years and belonged to a conceptual gallery where the shows took the form mostly of installations. While in Portland I served on several public art selection committees for the city and also created and installed 3 public art pieces. My work with natural materials was a major shift that happened shortly before I left Portland to come to Mendocino. I became intrigued by the use of natural materials and wanted to work with in a way that had less impact on the environment.
In this show I began with a big wood round a neighbor gave me. I knew it was going to take a long time to carve so I also started the two smaller forms in the show. There are difficult periods, a gestation time, where it isn’t clear how the piece wants to be, but other times it is clear from the start.
With the hanging birds I thought “I need color”; they were fun and at that point everything started to come together.
With the piece “Catching the Currents” I loved the vines and birds – the freedom they have. It was hard to find the materials that felt right for the birds to keep them looking light and airy. I finally settled on the bamboo leaves for feathers.
Catching the Currents
I don’t really have a favorite tool. I use what I need to in terms of tools and materials – it’s all a playground to me. Some pieces come together quickly, some take years but it quite clear to me when a piece is complete.
Waiting for Spring
Reaching for Light