The scent of singed hide, wood, and paper wafts through the studio air thick with smoke. Barber clippers buzz. Cow hair and paint drips scatter the floor.
Trained as a painter, I became interested in treating the canvas as “skin,” and my work has long focused on physicality. I work with unconventional materials – supports loaded with their own identities and past lives -- that demand my collaboration. I excavate into and project onto these surfaces.
Shaving and burning a cowhide reveals a figure through a play of chiaroscuro between fur and skin; in a yellowing book, faces of Edward Curtis’ Native American photographs provide a matrix of possibility. The way wood frottage suggested a surreal landscape to Ernst, the patterns of fur, the photos and discoloration on old pages of books, suggest new images to me. Motifs reappear -- staring faces, gardens, bombs -- indicating my own preoccupations: history, culture and memory, particularly bearing witness to violence and war in our time.
This exploration has informed my return to painting and drawing on conventional surfaces. Like Fontana, I cut into, torch, sand, collage and attack the “body” of my chosen surface. I drill constellations of charred dots into acrylic paintings. I draw with fire. My marks brand and embed the surface to point to its singularity as an object.
This intricate historical and cultural layering leads to a deeply personal and entwined narrative. I find my own story through engagement with the history of each object.