I create images of empowered women in luminous beads and reflective sequins. They are of diverse races, ethnicities and ages. Some pieces are embedded with small format video imagery in iPods or digital frames. This looped video is gestural; with kissing lips, hand gestures, eyes looking around or spitting pearls; occasionally with sound, to “tell” poems.
Regally posed women dominate earlier pieces. In my newest work, the figure is heroic, and in motion. Perspective and shading interact with flat surfaces. Aesthetics of mysticism, elegance and pop culture vie with and complement each other. Process is important, with larger works taking hundreds of hours and hundreds of thousands of beads to create.
I was born in Washington, DC to an artist and a poet, and I am both those things, and an educator and curator. My first exhibit was at the Washington Women’s Art Center in 1977. For over thirty-five years, I have been making art about women’s lives, which places me squarely in the feminist art movement. In the late 70’s-early 80’s, I was a member of the WARM (Women’s Art Registry of Minnesota) Gallery. While still a student at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, my work was chosen to be in a show at the Minneapolis Institute of Art. In 1984, I moved to New York City. I have exhibited in solo shows at Carter Burden Gallery, Soho 20, Brooklyn Central Library, Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute, Lesley University in Cambridge, WARM Gallery and the Glen Hansen Gallery in Minneapolis, the University of Minnesota at St. Cloud, and have participated in numerous group shows including at Pratt Institute, the School of Visual Arts, SIGGRAPH, the Minnesota Museum, Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, Bullet Space, Exit Art, Art in General, Taller Boricua and AIR. I was commissioned to create the performance Conversations with the Dead in 1987 for Franklin Furnace.
In the mid 90’s, I went back to school to earn my MFA in Computer Arts at the School of Visual Art in 1997. I produced “Things,” a pioneering interactive narrative on CD ROM. In 1999, the Women’s Studio Workshop awarded me a grant to produce Demon Slayer, an artist’s book, which I later performed at the Nuyorican Poet’s Cafe, Much of mywork has gone back and forth between traditional women’s art forms, such as embroidery and beadwork, with the traditional fine art techniques of painting and drawing, interactivity, animation, imaging and video. In the mid 90’s-early 2000’s, I worked with jazz and spoken word artists, dancers and performance artists to create multi media works, which were performed at PS 122, Roulette and City College in NYC as well as The Green Room, Manchester, UK. Some of the artists I worked with include: Tyrone Henderson, David Bindman, Diedre Murray, Fred Hopkins, Neil Rolnick, Katherine Supove and Valeria Vasilevski. In 2000, the groundbreaking collaborative performance, The Technophobe and the Mad Man was performed simultaneously at NYU and Renssellaer Polytechnic Institute with streaming video and audio passing between the two sites. I taught digital arts and 4 Dimensional Design at Pratt Institute from 1998-2005.
My work is subjective and narrative. I embed video in my work as a way of telling more of the story, of being both still and moving, both decorative and technological, creating a synthesis of apparently opposite forms. Women are the central characters in my work; heroic and archetypal, trying to emerge from the background, lost in thought or consumed by fire. They may be mermaids, demon slayers, warrior goddesses or simply women looking inward or meeting the gaze of the viewer. Both process and materials are important, whether a piece is embroidered, painted or produced digitally.
When I am not working on my art, I am developing arts programs for elders, students and people with disabilities through YAI.