About the Artist
I work as an artist creating prints, artist books, drawings and digital images. I received my BFA degree from the Rhode Island School of Design (1978) and my MFA degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (1981). My relief and silkscreen prints meld together abstract and readable letterforms extracted from Western, Middle Eastern, Far Eastern and Meso-American writing systems, graffiti, calligraphy, charts and maps. My art-making process involves excising segments of my printed images, repositioning, layering, and reassembling them into a matrix of patterns and glyphs that have become the trademark of my work. I am continually modifying my imagery, rebuilding and altering my prints into complex forms of novel permutations that are visually, technically, and conceptually connected. I continually experiment in adapting my printmaking practice to different types of technology and digital imaging programs.
My work has been exhibited in one-woman, international print biennials and triennials, invitational, group and juried shows. My prints are found in many museum and corporate collections including: the Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts, the Brooklyn Museum of Art, the Boston Public Library, The Fogg Museum, UCLA’s Grunwald Center for the Graphic Arts, the Huntsville Museum of Art, the Mint Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Museum of Art, California State University Long Beach, Museum of Art, Texas Tech University, National Museum of American Art, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, and the Smithsonian Institution.
My printmaking studio is adjacent to my home in Durham, North Carolina, which looks out onto the Eno State Park. My dogs, Molly and Gus, are the best studio assistants one could wish for, although they do a lot of sleeping on the job!
I cut and carve woodblocks, stencils, and paper to make highly meticulous, crafted prints. Through every stage of my image development, I focus on manipulating my surfaces. The pristine cuts found in my woodblocks, the precise digitally developed drawings used in my silkscreen images, the fastidious paper cutouts in my completed prints and low-relief printed constructions highlight the complexity of my images.
I am drawn to written languages that use extinct characters or ones that are unreadable to me. Exclusive of my work done in collaborative undertakings, my prints celebrate the beauty and graphic qualities of signs, glyphs and written forms. I merge these marks with aspects of calligraphy, typography, lines and shapes into an amalgamated written language of my own. My abstract forms, customarily contained within an entangled matrix, allude to signs and systems that are almost legible and familiar in their characters. Yet, they are as unreadable as any unfamiliar glyph. Through layering, I create unique combinations of visually patterned “tapestries”, resulting in rich, actively woven surfaces that suggest hidden codes and messages. Being highly aware of the communicative qualities of the signs and glyphs, my primary focus is on form, movement and context. My use of interwoven organizational systems and coding reflect my interests in urban planning, architecture, cartography and methods of way finding. The pathways found within my grids are unending, creating labyrinths with no exits. Like my cryptic letterforms, the mazes emphasize the complexity of my imagery, its formal qualities and the challenge of decoding enigmatic written systems.
My prints serve as artifacts, conveying abstract and undecipherable information through the design and manipulation of my glyphs, letterforms and symbols. My research builds on contextual information, color and source materials from photographs documenting place, history, culture and signage, adding to the meaning of my work. Beyond their graphic appeal, my work responds to the rich cultural history of the civilizations from which they are inspired, ideas of relics, interweaving the domains of philosophy, religion, mysticism, linguistics and humanistic inquiry. Evoking the viewer’s curiosity, my prints demand to be read as a map, landscape, or a visual text that must be decoded through imaginative interpretation. With no natural focal point within the expanse of pattern and letter forms, the viewer’s eye “flows” continuously, following the lines and seeing a variety of intricate structures, relationships and coded messages.
The stories behind my printed images range from mapping of urban landscapes, decoding political secrets, following an inescapable journey through a labyrinth, to reinterpreting memories of kaleidoscope patterns made from repeating glyph forms. These themes spark the development of my abstract interpretations. I work on multiple projects concurrently, resulting in several groups of works on paper completed simultaneously, as my meticulous approach to my work and its crafting is time consuming. My working process includes researching written texts and visual information in support of my ideas, from which I create my own source materials; balancing contextual narrative qualities with my abstracted interpretation of my multi-faceted story to be told; all portrayed through a conceptual framework of mapping, with marking systems resulting from excising, splicing and rearranging sections of my imagery. My finished pieces will often have multiple uses, seen as prints, in installations and as pages in my artist books.