This environmentally and peace conscious journey may have started with the loss of my favorite childhood woods to the asphalt paving industry, and to the reading of Anne Frank, or seeing Edvard Munch’s painting “The Scream,” but I was especially attuned to war, because I grew up listening to my father’s World War II stories on a weekly if not daily basis starting from childhood. Though he was a Purple Heart veteran, I will never forget his decision to give up his rifle while on the front line. The stories that have come from this gentle man have heightened my awareness regarding the concept of an enemy. This is the seed of my interest, which has sensitized me and made my creative flow unceasing and unstoppable. Much of this body of installation and performance work brings to recognition our culture’s inability to see, connect with, or interact with the “other,” consequently clinging to anger, retaliation, envy, hatred and war as a norm to not be questioned, when available to us is ”the strength to love within the community of humankind. The work questions a world where our thought processes are mediated for us, leading to a fundamental difficulty and collective failure to articulate thoughts outside of retribution, disregard, and domination.
I use the voice of the material as primary mode of communication, or perhaps the voice of the material uses me, as the choice of medium arrives unconsciously. The materials that present themselves to me: wild grasses, kudzu vines, seeds, bed sheets, lipstick cases, bullet cases, roses, herbs, electrical wire, etc., communicate meaning, memories, and associations. Context is important: vines juxtaposed to electrical wire evoke a nature/culture dichotomy, for example.
Sculptural installation brings into relationship, within a single environment, seemingly unrelated elements separated by historical time or by culturally dismissive divides, to present a multilayered story of “the whole.” Through relational sculptural environments, we often have the opportunity to move beyond short-term thinking and inaction, we learn ways to reconnect fragmented aspects of history and geography, relearning our role in the world. It is in this way my artistic expression often recalls examples of learning and unlearning cultural memory. It is through this work that I fell in love with Kingian Nonviolence Philosophy and Methodology, that strand of nonviolence derived from the strategic lifework of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
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