Art With Conscience
I am a visual storyteller.
My themes celebrate the beauty of our natural environment while warning of our existential threats. I address our over-consumption that gluts the landfill, science denial, conspiracy theories, the staggering increase of gun violence, assaults on human rights including women’s reproductive choices, the global pandemic, and the threats to our US Democracy.
When the COVID-19 shelter-in-place mandate was announced in Santa Rosa, CA in March 2020, I was in shock, but then embraced the isolation to do my artwork. However, when ordered to evacuate for eight days from the Glass wildfires, it was déjà vu. In 2017, we fled to safety from the Tubbs fire. Both times, the tireless efforts of firefighters saved our property from the inferno that roared through drought-parched Badger Creek just 20 yards from our back door. Upon return to my community, I saw the smoldering ruins of six homes and then the blackened skeletal trees immediately across our creek. My husband, with a few neighbors, began the endless task to clear the creek and its banks of fire-inciting plants. Eight months later, an array of wildflowers stubbornly poked their heads through the ash and rock. The following torrential rains shifted and smoothed the treacherous creek bed into a walkable path. Revealed were bits of black obsidian with chiseled edges, reminders of the Miwok people who once dwelled here in Sonoma County. Deer, rabbits, ground squirrels and other wildlife constantly bound through our yard, gobbling all the flowers I planted. So, now I create clay flowers and totems to populate my bare garden. Through these inevitable events, I honor nature’s dichotomy in my art.
My reverence for our natural environment was fostered by my scientist father who held my child hand as we explored the yet-unspoiled areas where we lived: the woods of Virginia, the shores of Jacksonville Beach, Florida, the dirt roads under the mountains of Caracas, Venezuela. From him, I learned the concept ecology, long before it entered the mainstream. From him, I learned to honor the rights of all people.
My need as an artist to create order out of chaos is tested in these hyper-chaotic times. The narrative leads me through a range of media including 2-D and 3-D artworks. I paint and draw. I construct assemblages dedicated to the use of recycled materials. I am compelled to sound the alarm about our universal threats and disasters...to implore humans to act with conscience.