Skins and Vessels
The Chinese Wu Xing system lists wood, fire, earth, metal and water as the five elements. This explains the nature and complexity of all matter in terms of simpler substances. My work touches on all the elements as I seek to translate, disclose, disseminate and observe the current social construct.
I utilize the unexpected in ways to stimulate experimentation, allowing new and multiple meanings. I’m a fan of Joseph Beuys and duplicate his care in selecting raw materials, primarily from the natural world. Through these salvaged and upcycled materials, I developed unique techniques over time. For example: In a search to represent skin, I concocted a bath to stain silk organza and a variety of papers. It includes odd rusted objects and tea combined with salt and an encaustic process. The passage of time… and accumulating objects over time are manipulated, exposing the seen and not seen.
At age fifteen, secrets were my constant companions when family conditions placed me and my four siblings in a tough and unsafe housing project in the east side of Cleveland. My time in the projects influenced thoughts about the less fortunate and the secrets we hide. Then as now layers and hidden meanings in layers have influenced my work. Secrets hide below the surface and inside vessels. Skin is the exterior layer of humanity, a fragile boundary between what exists to the outside and what hides away.