Anima Mundi, defined as the soul of the world, is explained in many ways across many different ancient philosophies referring to the existence of a world soul, a spirit inside nature, and the intrinsic connection between all living things. I hope to convey a small portion of this belief through my work. I am interested in what is not shown, the space between, what is unseen, even unknowable, yet deeply felt. I am a mixed media artist, deeply concerned about our environment, and I create and represent natural forms through a synthetic lens. Plants are portals that connect me to people, place and memory, across time and space. Each variety of plant is observed over time. My chosen images are often low-caste forms of weeds and wildflowers, dignified by being noticed, and the fauna that depend upon their existence.
While my work is based in the landscape, it is also simultaneously interior and exterior, as I have always been deeply inspired by fashion and design. I am connecting the world of landscape to the world of design and fashion through the use of luxe surfaces, artificially gilded metallics, vivid phosphorescent color, and obsessive detail, creating an insectarium that depicts the interconnection of species, the fragility of our ecosystems, and a reverence for nature and all of its inhabitants.
My work is extremely process based, while being rooted in the formal ideas of art making. Active looking is employed through the entire process. My art making routine becomes a form of meditation, an intuitive structure I thrive in and depend upon. Through the exploration of materials and mark making, I have created my own techniques that defy standard practice. First, I start by drawing the image onto the paintings surface, usually on paper. Once the image is drawn, I use acrylic paint to render the form and details. I mainly work from memory, only glancing at the reference image to make sure I am on the right path. Once I am happy with the painted form, I “mask” the image, hiding it behind layers of rubber and paper, protecting the image so I can freely create my backgrounds using paint, silkscreen, and metallic foils. I repeat this process several times until the desire effect is achieved. I use silkscreen as a form of painting, laying down images freely; correct registration is not a concern and I often create specific hand painted screens for each painting. My gilded surfaces are created by printing an adhesive based ink that allows the textile foil to stick to the surface of the work through the application of heat using a book iron, traditional iron, or heat press. The pressure in addition to the heat, burnishes the foil onto the silkscreened image; depending upon my technique I can create perfect metallic silhouettes or create surfaces that are half gilded and imperfect. Through this entire process the original painted form is hidden from view, and the rendered image lies underneath waiting to emerge and coexist next to the background images that have been layered upon the painting's surface. Once the backgrounds are complete, I am ready to remove the layers of masking and reveal the juxtaposition of the painted forms next to the background layers. At this point, I sit with the work, waiting to discover what the painting requires and consider all of the possibilities before me. Next, I paint back into the surface of the work, often using undulating white and black outlines to show the aura or “anima mundi” of the forms, activating negative spaces and exposing the flatness of the work. At this point in the process, I decide which forms to adorn with flocking, a velvet-like texture created through the electrostatic charge of tiny nylon particles sprayed onto an adhesive surface. It’s here that I may step away from the painting, printing metallic images of birds and butterflies onto fabric that I hand flock and collage onto the painting’s surface, similar to a type of applique process.
My work evolves through phases of strangeness and familiarity, with colors that are oddly representational and vivid, by juxtaposing these forms next to metallic printed and flocked backgrounds I hope to invite unexpected dialogues between different forms. The work is representational while being highly symbolized. I want to consider the limits of representation, rather than being confined by the limitations of realism, I stride toward a different destination, inviting viewers to explore the boundaries of representation itself. I am a form of a naturalist, but I am cultivating my own landscape.
Light is extremely important to the viewer’s experience of the work, as well as the viewer's interpretation of light depending upon how and where they observe the work. The light will change depending upon how the viewer moves throughout the gallery and as they change their position in front of the work. The metallics reflect and refract light, while the flocked surfaces absorb light. The experience also changes depending on the lighting environment within the space as well as the time of day. The viewer will always have a different experience of the work, and this invites the viewer to embark on a personal journey through shifting perspectives.
Recently, I have been exploring image making by reversing my process. Instead of painting first, then printing into the image, I flipped it and started using the silkscreen process as a starting point. The silkscreen process allows me to print on paper, canvas or fabric. I am exploring compositions employing the use of hundreds of silkscreen images pulled onto the surface; some are gilded with metallic foils, others printed in ink. I then respond to the work, asking questions and playing within the elements until a direction is discovered. My silkscreen process is extremely analog, steeped in a tangible and hands on approach. My studio flat files are filled with an extensive collection of hand painted films; many of these films, originally used as wallpapers and textile designs for traditional functions and specific installations, are now being reused as elements in my paintings.
I hope to arouse a sense of wonder, appreciation, and concern for fragility of the environment, as well as the urgent need for a sustainable living.