I’m so curious about the uncomfortable ‘in between’ state, between having a voice and being muted, between having a body and not having one, between being caught and trapped or liberated, between life and the inevitable dissolution of it. So that’s what I make art about. And, also, particularly with regard to women, since that is what I am, the subjugation of the woman’s voice is an important theme for me; I attempt to make it visible, audible, expressing the anguish and awkwardness, using myself or fictive characters, in certain scenarios, set ups, displays. In the past, I’ve employed narratives, like, for example, Ovid’s Philomela (from ‘Metamorphoses’) where the main character’s tongue is cut off but she still manages to not only express herself in other ways but emerge from that type of imprisonment (caused by, I might add, by male violence). I’m very intrigued by that transition time, from victim to survivor and then some. As long as the female voice, and presence for that matter, continue to be a threat and the object of violent perpetration on this planet, it will figure into my art. The inequity and suffering is so pervasive and these meta-narratives against personal freedom are what drive humanity in circles. I have employed many artistic disciplines in reverence to and compelled by all of this.
Performance has been my primary art practice for years, strongly emerging while studying with Annette Messager, during my residency at Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux Arts in Paris. Then, while pursuing my MFA at Cal Arts in Visual Art, I also got my master’s in Voice (music) and did spontaneous or staged performances with sculptures, video, and audio, all in the service of investigating the voice and the existence (or ‘non-existence’) of things. More recently, I have turned to a studio practice of painting and drawing, frequently using myself as a lone figure to confront different environments or dwell beyond the negation of them. I still consider this a performative act via the physical gestures of myself or an animated object as the central figure. I frequently use imagery such as: hair, braids, human form, inner organs, water, rocks, current threatening environmental conditions in my work. Tandem to my art practice, I have spent much time studying yoga and Buddhism. And I’ve become more concerned about the patriarchal overlay in terms of yogic and Buddhist iconography and am investigating that further. All this intensifies and compliments my artistic compulsion to try and understand the nature of this ‘in between’ state and the uncomfortable place within which a voice, especially a female one, resides.
Hey, try to open up your heart
To beauty; go to the woods someday
And weave a wreath of memory there.
If the tears obscure your way,
You’ll know how wonderful it is to be alive.
from “I Never Saw Another Butterfly”
© 1944 Schocken
“my self, abandoned and devoid of shame, through the wide world your actions will proclaim: Or though I’m prisoned in this lonely den, obscured and buried from the sight of men, my mournful voice the pitying rocks shall move, and my complainings echo through the grove.”
”art makes up what fortune has denied.”
from Philomela, Ovid’s Metamorphoses
Why do they shut me out of Heaven? Did I sing too loud?