Pecha Kucha Night at The Parrish Art Museum, Water Mill, New York
THE SUNFLOWER DIARY, 2013-2015
Sunflowers have always been a symbolic bellwether for me. They are gigantic, heroic forces of nature, and they are almost human in their scale and ‘persona’.
I established my sunflower study over twenty years ago, with a life sized, botanical study of a sunflower. Since then sunflowers have periodically appeared in my work.
The Sunflower Diary began with a garden project. I designed and planted a sunflower circle of 12 flowers, like a clock. As they grew I photographed them—from seed to dead flower—through their growth seasons. With over 3500 still photographs I digitally edited a video film of their life cycle. I created original music.
In addition, I painted many paintings of sunflowers in all forms. Creating, living with, recording, and observing my sunflower garden from birth to death was a beautiful and poetic look at nature’s life cycle. A meaningful metaphor for our human life cycle.
FOOD AND ART, ART AND FOOD, Summer 2015
This project grew, as it were! out of a collaboration with Colin Ambrose, the owner and chef at Estia, a restaurant in my area that specializes in garden ingredients, and local sourcing. I grow a lot of vegetables in my own garden, and wanted to do paintings about food. The East End of Long Island, New York, where we live, is one of the earliest settlements of the New World (1640), and fishermen and farmers in this area are descended from the first settlers. There are descendents of local Native American tribes here too, and a great tradition of local, indigenous food production.
I planted my garden with artworks in mind, and as soon as the vegetables appeared, I began to paint them. Earlier in the season, I had followed some of the haul seiners (dory fishermen who use wide nets to catch), and painted lots of fish.
But while I was growing all of this produce, I realized I had so much more than I could use for eating or painting.
One of the great ironies of the East End of Long Island--one of the richest soils for growing in the land, and one of the richest vacation destinations in the world, is that there is a large population of ‘locals’, including our indigenous Native Americans, and ‘Bonac’ people, who are descended from the original English settlers. Included is a population of African Americans who have been the field workers in this area for hundreds of years, and more recently Latino workers who keep all the gears running. These populations continually struggle with the economic hardships and poverty of seasonal manual labor.
Hidden in between the gigantic seaside mansions are food banks that help feed the hungry.
Sitting in my lush garden, I thought how great it would be to share some of this food. I began packing up my extra produce every other day or so, and driving it to several food banks in the area. They were so grateful to have the beautiful, fresh picked vegetables! So many food banks end up with cast off tins of beans, or unhealthy processed extras.
So, FOOD AND ART, ART AND FOOD, became not just a look at nature’s bounty and its visual beauty, but the beauty of feeding someone in need.
THE DAY, 2016
The predominant themes of this work are existential observations of earth and sky, the changing seasons, and the passage of time. At Ille Arts Gallery, Amagansett, NY this installation of 24 individual panels was arranged in a grid, each representing an hour of the day, from sun up to sun up, showing the changes of light and sky, and the colorful, poetical rhythms of sky and earth throughout this time period of lightness and darkness.
For nearly a year I collected ‘data’ on the hours, sketching, photographing, and videoing at all hours.
The theme of changing light supercedes the identity of any specific landscape, and the landscape of each painting represents a kind of never ending earth, as if we were riding a train through time.
This installation had three parts: a grid of small oil sketches, a video, and a large wall of panels, measuring nearly 18 feet across.
I create and play my own music for the video work, creating an emotional aural thread for the visual play.