This is an ongoing series of works on paper and canvas, in different sizes, inspired by mosaics, cobblestones, and maps.
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FRAGMENTS SERIES Artist's statement
In the spring of 2011, motivated by my continuing quest for authenticity in my work, I revisited what fascinated me early in life. Mosaics, cobblestones, hand-drawn maps, and African quilts surfaced as old loves. I wanted to explore the particular aesthetic that these culturally-rich objects shared. Twenty years ago my career in fabric design emerged from this love of pattern, but I now sought to return to the directness and uniqueness of handmade art, as separate from the product world. The quirkiness of freehand drawing seemed a refreshing, and necessary, relief from my increasingly computer-driven world. With this new focus, during a particularly stressful time when I was helping my elderly mother navigate breast cancer, I decided to simply draw small rectangles in ink on paper, filling a few dozen sketchbook pages. After my Mom died that fall, I collaged these pages onto a large piece, filling in the remaining spaces with more rectangles. The repetitive mark-making became a personal daily meditation, not unlike Julia Cameron’s “morning pages” (described in her book “The Artist’s Way”). Thus the double entendre title of my first piece in the “Fragments” series: “Mourning Pages”.
As a Visiting Artist at the American Academy in Rome in the spring of 2010, I worked on large format paintings for limited-edition tapestries, and returned two years later to work on the “Fragments” series. Rome has provided inspiration to artists for centuries, and I am no exception. Having lived there for a year as a child, and also for 2 months in 2009, its layers of history, light, colors, and collage-like surfaces are an integral part of my visual sensibility. The mosaics of both Rome and Istanbul have had a strong influence on the later pieces in this series. Specifically, the rich, uneven, texture created by aging and deterioration fascinates me, and led me to translate this bas-relief quality into paint. The fan-like pattern of Roman cobblestones are, in effect, mosaics without representational imagery. This same eccentric, cell-like construction is found in hand-drawn maps of villages, the cells being houses. African improvisational quilts present the sometimes calm, sometimes syncopated, juxtaposition of pieced elements I was noticing in the mosaics, cobblestones, and maps. In response to these inspirations, “Fragments” has become a visual language for exploring time, movement, surface tension, memory, and a kind of invented archeology. Falling into the general category of “meticulous abstraction,” my intention is to depict and define a quality rather than an object. I’ve observed that these pieces (currently 17 in number) invoke different things in different people, as they stop and let the images remind them of the potential beauty in collaborations between time, culture, randomness, and the human hand.