The Land Dress series expresses a life’s memories of the natural world, impressed on the body through the five senses, imprinted on emotions through circumstance. The embodiment of these sensations is woven into my understanding of what it means to be a human, a person, a woman. The dress, skirt/bodice is not an uncommon representation of woman – even a small circle atop a triangle (the simplest dress!) helps us to find the correct restroom in a public space for example. To me, dress is Monument, a site marker of multifarious female experience.
Initially used in my studio as substitutes in figurative studies, the doll's natural function as a stand-in for nurturing play easily developed into a form of commentary on real issues concerning children that were current at the time: issues of surrogacy, safety, value. Specifically, the doll body-masses became tied to issues of lost identity.
Ultimately, this iconography became personal, pertaining to representations of potential, states of innocence, and glyphs of the self.
Walls and monuments interest me as delineations of arenas of security/ nurturing, confinement/restriction and commemoration/acknowledgment. In opera, where I worked for over a decade, set walls were important as means to describe spheres of activity or to isolate an individual from the choral group. Stage set walls were usually heavy constructions, a combination of both three dimensional carving and illusory painting. This dialogue between dimension and illusion (figure and ground), both in the pictorial narrative and between paint and surface, engages me still.
My process is labour intensive, more “construction” than painting. Starting with a bas-relief of mixed media (bones, twigs, micah-fill, burlap, medical sheeting, polyvinyl emulsion, gold leaf, shellac, etc.) paint is then applied with a variety of manipulations, employing rags, rollers, abrasion and scumble, spattering and washes, to build a concentrated colour surface. Each layer becomes progressively more refined, until the edges of certain forms emerge, defined with brushwork.