I have been a sculptor since 1986. The "avian humans" evolved during my graduate work at American University, in Washington DC; where I studied classically from the live model. These tribes of nomadic wanderers, or angels, are forms which I intuit. Often possessing some influence of the feminine archetype.
The beings~ are part animal and part angel. Some dance, and some fly. Yet each one is bound to earth with reluctance. In this created pantheon, I envision Buddhist Bodhisattvas, Greek Nikes, and arc angels- all existing in liminal "spaces of being". The sculptures may stand as manifestations of dreams, visual poems, or fleeting realities.
Years into my work as a sculptor, I happened to read Rilke's Duino Elegies, after being calmed & heartened for many years by his Letters to a Young Poet; I had found a kindred spirit. In the Elegies, Rilke's words, his beautiful, poetic interpretations, describe a vision of certain beings who are caught between the flesh (human) and the divine (angel); existing in liminal spaces, or as Wordsworth said,.. in [divine] "spaces of being".
I received an MFA from the American University in Washington, DC. under Professor Mark Oxman. Through art history I developed a visual artistic lineage that informed my own works. It begins with Ancient Egyptian and the Greek Archaic sculpture; up through Michelangelo , to Rodin, Maillol, Marini, and Moore. While predominantly influenced by western sculptors, my work is also informed by African, Buddhist / Hindu, Oceanic and Inuit works.
I sculpt with modeling clay or wax. From there I do my own plaster casts. These are brought to the foundry for the lost-wax process of casting in bronze. I work closely with foundry technicians to complete the bronze sculptures' finished surfaces and patinas.
Landscape Mappings ~ Botanical Hybrids
Imagined creatures: botanical hybrids, moth orchids, seed pods, and beetles, shown migrating across great expanses of land and sea. These aerial landscapes evoke images of future bio-diversity evolution.
I believe the original landscape - mappings were inventions of the ancient aboriginal peoples of Australia, tens of thousands of years ago. For tens of thousands of years, their dream-time paintings, along with songs, poetry and mythologies ran deep within the lives and culture of these ancient people.
Inspired by the ancient dream-time paintings I've found a visual means to express my ideas.
With this body of work; the Landscape ~ Mappings, I seek to explore: the seasonal rhythms of nature, ocean tides and layers of time. I am thinking about the vast cyclical animal migrations across the globe - of whales, monarch butterflies, and birds. I am aware of my own circadian clock, the rotations of star constellations, and phases of the moon.
Like a great symphony, or a shaken snow globe, I feel all of this living matter, this dense soup of life, is ever swirling, ever fluctuating, to find some momentary, balance for earth's breathing, before shifting once again.
We live amongst fragile Eco-systems with little insight to their complexities and balances. We create global "seed banks" out of fear for what we might loose. We limit nature's paths to healthy bio-diversity. We genetically modify living things. We disturb.
And so, perched at my drawing table, I began to ponder how plants and insects might join forces; evolving themselves into new hybrid species, in order to survive. Thus, the seedpod/ moth orchid / hybrids emerged from imagination and science to become air-born travelers, migrating across earth's lands and oceans!
Early works began in two parts ... 1)as a series of drawings of magical seed pods done on small pieces of re-cycled paper. 2) as painted mixed media collages showing a more "traditional" landscape format with horizon line, a sky and land or sea. These were: my "Landscapes of the Mind" pieces.
At the time I was reading Barry Lopez's beautiful book, Arctic Dreams . He talks about how the Lakota, believe that a spiritual landscape exists within the physical one. And how the Navajo, believe each landscape has its own sacred order. Subsequently, I read Michael Pollan's Botany of Desire. I was also influenced by some ink & watercolor line drawings of flowers, which I happened upon. These were made by the Scottish architect & designer, Charles Mackintosh.
Techniques & Media:
I wanted to layer images, like time, like quantum physics - and so I began using encaustic wax techniques; watercolor paints and collage. I tested many paper types until I found vellum. It provided strength and transparency and I could create in layers. However, vellum could not withstand wet media. So, I had to cut out all the luscious layers of watercolor painting I had been doing and begin again with dry colored pencil techniques.
As I worked on these images, I happened to take a fantastic workshop, which opened-up the idea of "map" to my brain. I recalled my previous studies and fascination with the symbols and layered meanings of the Aboriginal Australian's Dreamtime Paintings. I found copies of maps sketched by Leonardo Da Vinci. I looked on-line for drawings of city plans . I bought an old Atlas and began tearing out the pages. A text book from 1959- entitled, The Theory of Modern Physics, presented itself. I also discovered the works of Maria Sibylla Merian (1647/ Etymologist and Botanical Illustrator). And a neighbor/ photographer in Maine, began donating some of his collected old sea charts. The seed-pod and moth-orchid hybrids began to fly over the maps and sea charts. An aerial-viewpoint was set in place. The works became "landscape- mappings".
They continue to emerge, as I refine my drawings, ideas, and images...