artists statement

The female body in my work is a point of departure, a frame of reference. It is the body into which I was born; it is a symbol, a metaphor, a vessel that holds hundreds of thousands of years of stories in its ample bosom and the curves of waists, hips, thighs, and stomachs. My works are about creating and changing identities, giving birth over and over again to new and varied definitions of self as we grow and change and live and be. I often use myself, my body, and my own experiences—as limited as they are—as a starting point, a vehicle for approaching questions of power, privilege, and disadvantage, of being cast aside, of not knowing, of being made to feel unsafe, unwanted, and without value. It rarely is about me, directly. It is about the larger story. It is story—history, narrative, folklore—which links present to past and future as well as individuals to each other and the world around them.

I examine and deconstruct the relationships between feeling that I am "Other" and developing a perception of self that seeks connections and strives to find beauty in contrasts as well as the links between urban life, identity, culture, memory, nature, mythologies, and magical-spiritual belief. I investigate power and the consequences of power. I manipulate and transform the female forms I draw, exaggerating shapes, sizes and colors and combining them with animal, architectural, plant and other natural and man-made forms to give them (surr)real bodies and convincing presence but also a kind of luminous magic and personality and strength.

I am a painter drawn to mixed media and printmaking. I am also expanding my art practice to include performance art and writing—writing for performance and creative nonfiction. I would also like to work with video. I use strong colors, layers and textures to create images in which both my materials and the way I think about them become something new and different, as we are changed when we share ourselves and our stories with others. I am also interested in the use of the body itself as a painterly object, a site of performance that renders the black body, the female body visible, seen not just in terms of an overt sexuality that is at once magnetic and repulsive but also as a valuable, viable part of the complex history of our life and time.