Sound the Climate Alarm


In my drawings, cardinals honk and chickadees sing razor wire. Death chases a prairie chicken with a blaring saxophone. Animals drawn from memory reveal the loss we find when we are without them. Origami cranes, an international symbol for peace, fly over walls and meander through chain link fences. The cardinal’s song is visually amplified as a message of hope and renewal. A car with loudspeakers blasts an unusual wish for the world. Mosaics portray archways as a symbol for barriers with a way to pass through. Less an attempt to teach than an effort to explore the emotional states connected with an awareness of climate change, animal extinction, and related social stresses, these emotionally-packed drawings, collages and mosaics express alarm, despair, joy and possibility. With a sense of beauty and compassion, my art encourages the viewer to “listen” with a heart open to creating a future where there is enough to share and compassion for all.


Linked in Spirit


Life is a curious thing, and that’s what motivates me to look at it more closely through art. My art is a visual commentary on experiences, from the surprise of cracking open a two-yolked egg (industry destroys two-yolkers), to the trouble of trudging into a strong headwind (or maybe a strong-headed political wind), to the emotional flood of laughing to the point of crying (or maybe it’s the other way around).


I am drawn to themes that are mundane, whimsical, and socially urgent, and I like to mix them around to find how they link in spirit. While based on experiences, my images are never realistic-looking; a bit of fantasy always comes into play. And sometimes I abandon “reality” altogether by creating my own characters in scenes that are fully imaginary. But even these are intended to say something tangible about how special (or beautiful or infuriating or ridiculous) this ordinary old world really is.


This exhibit includes work that I have made in three media: collage, clayboard, and mosaic. I am interested in the way that my work in one media influences my work in another. Making painted mosaic-like patterns in my collages grew out of the textures I was making in scratchboard. Then one day my brother, also an artist, said to me, “Why don’t you make mosaics?” And now I love making mosaics, and am finding myself incorporating pieces of cloth that look like mosaic tiles into my collages.


The visual unifier in my work is my interest in pattern and surface texture. Making each piece takes a while, and the process becomes a sort of meditation. Other interests that span media include layering images to show two things going on at once. I also emphasize postures and gestures, and find myself distorting things to help communicate an idea. More recently I have begun using symbols from the natural world to convey human psychological states. Birds, for example. I love the hummingbird’s nervous energy, the goose’s aggressive stance, and the blackbird, beautiful and ominous. Some of my birds have sprouted human legs, and I suppose that’s my way of making the human connection clear. I’m also playing around with foxes, based on the one that visited our Colorado campsite several times this summer.


My exhibits are comprised of two-dimensional pieces that hang on the walls, sometimes include found objects that support my themes, and occasionally some enlarged related images painted on the gallery wall. Additional content for my work is based on interviews, personal writing, and research that go beyond spending time alone in my studio, although I do plenty of that too.