I wrote this near the 4th of July, as I looked around my neighbors homes in the Catskills flying the flag. Even on a trip to Buffalo NY, I saw flags everywhere. It has always made me feel uncomfortable. To me the flag is a sign of exclusion. As well as the history of genocide, slavery and racism I imagine so many people here now who feel the exclusion of being ‘American.’
People who work and pay taxes with no sign of ever becoming a citizen
People who cannot speak the dominant language of English
People who came here as children and have no place to return to in their birth country but are never granted access to the benefits of citizenship.
Looking back on this writing after a flood of ideas I drew last night, I am happy to begin working on a quilted 'flag' filled with many colors and patterns in an interconnected design to hang high among the trees in the front area of the house.
I am also working on so many new ideas for the sculpture garden here. It has taken me this long to get started. I learned how to use a chain saw today and trimmed down an edge off of a tree stump. I only wish I could work as fast as my thoughts.
Pine Mountain - a large mountain of pine needles
I have been thinking a lot about materials and craft. It is amazing how we can be a product of our circumstances. I now have the time and mental space to think about such things. For some time I felt as though I were getting the job done and now I am thinking, what would it be like if I made it like this....or like that... the meaning can change, the feel can change. It is pushing the work around and making it be in its best form
I crave stillness and quiet. There is something unsettling about not having so many distractions. I have always seen life in motion, moving to what you want to be; talking, and going places. Seeking out the world constantly. Looking for new experiences to thrill myself.
Now I seek stillness. I want to bath in it, sit in it and absorb the subtlest change and movement. The sound of an unseen creature moving, the wind, a pinecone dropping, Water lapping. I want to see the slow change of the seasons and notice each aspect of the cycle of things growing, changing.
I have submitted to my place on earth. Standing in a forest of giant trees, walking on a mountain and seeing how the scale of everything changes as I walk about. I am always trying to understand this aspect; my perception of the space I am in and when I am in it. A tree is in one place for hundreds of years and sees the landscape change. I am not physically connected to the earth but depend on it.
The work I make is slow in this way, coloring something in, drawing in repetition. The imagery is of my perception of this land as space and time.
In a workshop this weekend the presenter asked us what drawing is. Everyone responded with things like, it is really learning to look and observe.. it is representing something... creating images etc. And she said what it really is, is a record of yourself at the moment of drawing.
Looking at the drawing I did during that workshop was a record I could not stand to look at! As mesmerized as I was during the process of drawing them, I look at them as being lost, disconnected and a filler for when the real work comes. It is the part of making art that is the hardest. The in between of when things come together and start to flow. These phases always seem so long. I keep drawing, knitting making things until I see the connections, the meanings and the work starts to develop. Even though it is painful I have to trust the process and keep it moving.
Working with Mike Estabrook and Vandana Jain has been a great experience! Here is the before and after picture of our space. We made mobile walls so we can keep the space flexible and we are planning what events, and work we will do here! So exciting to start fresh!
In preparing for Lithuania, I made a slide show of my work to present to the community. The work spans about 13 years and it was a great moment to realize that the whole 13 years has a conceptual thread. I began when I was making Black McLean in search of an identity based on stories of my heritage. I always looked to other cultures and other people in search of a sense of place. Then I began to Make work incorporating house imagery and imagery of waterways. Looking back, alot of the work during this time was almost like a search for home. A search for belonging. I did the floating picnic with Pauline Marcel in NYC. We were exploring ideas around connections through waterways. I also made House Truck which was driven to Miami and open to the public during the art fairs. It was shown in Grendal an exhibit put on by Jack the Pelican Presents and I also showed Tunnel an animation installation in an old walk in freezer in which we cut out the walls to view the animation. It is an animation of me digging a tunnel to a house off in the distance. There is a real sense of searching during this time.
At this point I began to make work drawing from experiences of my own history rather than drawing from stories I heard or imagined heritages. I began to draw the floor map of every house I ever lived in from memory and created an installation of the street I grew up on and how the events on the street contributed to who I am and how and it impacted my understanding of the world.
From there my work became more present. I started making work that related to our relationship to landscape as seen in projects such as black mountain and sky dome. The most recent piece still incorporating a house is Hammock House which is held up by a quilt made from family clothes. It is my most recent version of home.