NEWS VS NATURE SERIES:
The News vs. Nature paintings reflect the widening social divides that unfold in the current news cycle. I began the series in 2011, envisioning the organized chaos of nature reigning supreme against the psychological toll of bad news. The series was featured in “New American Paintings” that year, and then I put it aside for other projects. I felt compelled to start these again in 2017, but the series shifted and took on new importance in late 2017 as an epic battle began to rage with our perception and discussion of the news
. Now it’s harder to tell who to root for. Is the news fake or, more likely, a last bastion of truth? Is nature sublime, or does it represent the most disturbing aspects of human nature. I don’t know anymore, and the battle rages on.
The encaustic "quilts" of my Vintage
series weave together indexical remnants of an unknown person, whose life was documented in a small found photo album from Southwest Houston. Due to the iconically vintage nature of some of the photos - with bouffant hairdos, yellow plastic lawn chairs, and go-go boots - I don't think the album owner is alive. By using her images though, I feel that her memories, treasures, and loves are reanimated in a sense, in an echo of an echo. I employ quilt pattern language to piece the images together: cathedral windows, for the glimpses into the moments that build a life; ocean waves, for the cyclical nature of families; grandmother's flowers, for a mother's hopes. These personal images will never occur again in their particularity, but I think the knowledge that they will repeated in other similar forms over and over again taps in to the universal pattern of life. I find some comfort there and, like my quilting relatives before me, I celebrate these events with my work. Titles for this series have been pulled from lines of a William Blake poem, The Ecchoing Green, as I have given much thought to innocence and experience while making these works:
REDWORK: CONGRESSIONAL PENNY SQUARES SERIES:
My ongoing series of embroidered congressional districts are documentation of absurd gerrymandering, preservation of an obscure needlework/quilting medium, and commentary through a historically loaded medium. In this usage, “
Redwork” becomes a double entendre for present day political machinations as well as specific style of embroidery.
Redwork originated in the lower to middle classes in Europe and America due to the common nature of the materials (as opposed to fine fabrics and silk threads), the minimal use of thread, and an easy technique, all of which made it affordable and accessible, Growth of the technique in America was also attributed to the weaker economy following the depression. During the 1860s-1930s women also did not have many ways to voice their concerns or political views but penny squares often addressed these issues. Penny squares were ready-to-
stich redwork blocks on muslin, which were sold in general stores, to be assembled into quilts. I find these references to specific classes, commerce, economics, and social commentary startlingly relevant to the present day.