Walking urban streets as a non-native expat resident, I learned to observe carefully and quietly. I made myself as invisible as possible becoming an unnoticed, anonymous gray woman as I scanned the crowd. I focused on people who did not stand out, but who for some reason caught my eye. I collected their images in photographs that I cleared of backgrounds and simplified on my computer to make silkscreens. The, in 2014, we returned to the US and retired to the countryside near a small, quiet town. Quiet roads replaced city noise and busy sidewalks; days now pass without seeing another soul. But I have my memories, photos and screens. I create crowds with them. For years, my art quilts portrayed a single person. But as I adjust to solitude, I combine images of people to build crowds on new work. While I have some photos of actual couples in my files, I also put the images or screens of two people from anywhere together to create an imagined couple, e.g., I can depict a woman from Sarajevo with a man from France.
Installed H12 inches x variable width from 16 to 36 inches x D14 inches: coiled from one or both ends as a single or double scroll on pedestal
Unrolled H12 x W120 inches
Finding inspiration in street crowds, I collect images of real people. I don’t know them, but I give each an imagined character and story. Installed as a single or double scroll, Once Belonged creates a tabletop crowd of people in the form of a standing art book. Just as some figures in a crowd are hidden from the observer, the coil conceals many of the people, provoking curiosity about those who are not seen.
Body of Work
Interlocking triple scroll: H6 x W28 inches x D12 inches (variable)
Unrolled each: H6 x W73 inches
With the pandemic’s erasure of people who retreated behind closed doors or even died, I began working with processes and formats to disappear or change figures. Like wood twist toys, children’s flip-flap books and the drawing game of Exquisite Corpse, Body of Work separates images of people in to parts. As I printed the people, I rearranged to order of feet, torsos and heads on 3 standing scrolls. Like individual pages of a 3-part book or twist toy, when the 3 scrolls interlock as coils, only a few parts are visible and, depending on alignment, combine heads, feet and torsos of different people.
Double Scroll: H8 x W22 inches x D7 inches
Unrolled: H7 x W120 inches
The women of this art book represent caryatids, stone architectural supports carved in female form. The classical Greek architectural style of the Erechtheum on Athens' Acropolis inspired both the portrayal of women and the two volutes that replicate the form of an ionic column capital.
On the outer side of the double scroll, the images of 32 women are printed on used paper coffee filters. The inner side is stitched of fabric printed with stone patterning. Drawing from the concept of caryatids as strong women, I chose the elderly women because of my interest in how experience and stamina enable people to cope with the often-overwhelming world they navigate.
H58 x W48 inches
When a current carries a creek stone from one place to another, the stone resettles. The hollow where the stone was remains as a memory of the place left behind. The solitary introspection of watchers and thinkers creates silent islands of thought amidst the background noise as their minds wander.
Frost On A Wall
Triptych overall: H72 x W128 inches
Panels: left H72 x W38 inches; center H72 x W46 inches; right H72 x W36 inches
Walking country roads through woods and farm fields, I rarely meet another person. I note the relative isolation of my rural surroundings and think back to living overseas, wandering busy city streets in Europe and Asia. Now, I draw from my memories and street photographs of the ordinary, anonymous people crowding urban sidewalks and I create my own crowds.