The artist with one of her fiber land art installations, Black Rock Desert, Nevada. Photograph by Paul Fairchild.

 

I am inspired by the connections between humans and the water and land that sustain them. In my work, I visually juxtapose vulnerability and resilience, past memory and future possibilities.

Growing up in Los Angeles during the drought years made me aware of the preciousness of water and that realization has turned into a passion for incorporating water related concerns into my art. I’m drawn to the birds-eye view of the landscape and the human marks and patterns that are revealed by this view. My study of these marks leads me to ask questions about how they affect the health of our water resources. Did this aqueduct contribute to the drying up of lakes or creeks or rivers? Does this diked industrial salt pond affect water quality? Could this dam have caused this species to become endangered? I then do research to find answers to those questions and to the many new questions that arise in the process - thus allowing me to understand how the landscape has changed over time. My artwork is inspired and informed by my research process and includes the history of the site, scientific issues, maps and aerial photographs.

I have two main bodies of work: stitched paintings and land art installations. In my stitched paintings, I blend painting with textile techniques to create multi-layered birds-eye view landscapes and maps showing the human marks that affect our water resources. I work in textiles because of the allure and luster of silk and the way I can sculpt the material through stitching to convey terrain. I also like the familiar and comforting feel of textiles that comes from the integral and basic part they play in our lives.

I also use textiles in my land art installations. In some cases the textiles are placed in dry landscapes to create the illusion of water. In other cases the textiles play a symbolic role to illuminate the relationship between the present landscape and the past landscape.

I am starting to work in glass as well. Glass is a perfect medium for my subject matter as it shares important properties with water such as transparency and interaction with light. Glass allows me to convey multiple layers of meaning in my work by building up simultaneously visible transparent layers of design

The aesthetic of beauty is important in all of my work; it helps make the serious and difficult nature of the subject matter I’m addressing more approachable.
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