I’m not really coming from a nostalgic place when I work although the geography of my life (particularly my early life) tends to be right there with me. The impulse to juxtapose organic and synthetic elements in the work relates to the pull that I feel in my life between a busy, sharp edged city life and the simpler, softer environment that I came up in.
Despite my intermittent preoccupation with place and physical environment, I'm not presenting an objective reality in my oil paintings. The concealing and revealing that I’m working with is just a very matter of fact exploration of layering and juxtaposing – searching for provocative relationships and being in the moment.
In any medium, my transitions from color to color are most often strong and clear. With a good amount of medium mixed in, I can get these incredibly dense, opaque flowing masses of color with oil paint. This lends itself to the subtractive, covering-over process that I incorporate while working on canvas. The pieces on paper are more carefully constructed and entirely additive. It is more about careful use of whitespace and playing around with dense clusters of clean, sharper shapes. Gouache gives me the kind of coverage and opacity that I’m looking for when I do this work on paper. Sculpture is a newer realm for me. I began using plaster, clay or paper mache forms out of a desire to manipulate and physically interact with the kinds of forms I articulate with paint. Most recently, I've begun to think in sculptural terms as a point of origin, not as an extension of the painted works.
I use color to control the intensity and story of a piece. A huge part of the work that I do in the studio each day is finding my way to color resolutions that work for me or get me excited. There is a balance that I try to find between soft and hard, bold and subdued, so that a given painting or sculpture feels alive and resolved at the same time.
I respond to the idea of fluctuation and relatedness within a group of distinct individuals and the way that the placement of a unique form in relation to others within a visual field can tell a story. Painting in distinct, incomplete layers allows me to explore the idea of concealing and revealing -- an active process of choosing what to present outwardly and what to keep under wraps. Even though this tends to be an additive, building process, I am actively working with the notion of excavation as well. I imagine that by painting in this way, I am something of an archeologist toiling away to reveal hidden, long-forgotten information.
ABOUT ME: I am originally from a beautiful, small town in coastal Maine where I experienced a salty-air childhood directly from the pages of a Robert McCloskey book. I moved to New York City as a teenager to attend Barnard College and have somehow lived in big cities ever since. Over the years I have worked as a painter, a graphic designer (Village Voice), a small business owner (Utility Design), an off-broadway dramaturg (Blue Man Group), a founder of a school (Blue School) and then... at long last...a painter again (exhale). Today I live and work in the relative calm of Philadelphia with my kids and husband, fellow painter Tyler Hays.