My professional practice consists of three major bodies of work. Each body has different subjects but they all use the medium of black paint. My ‘Finished Line’ and Flag paintings on paper are all constructed with drywall tape and black paint. The act of seeing through black has both historical precedents and current relationships to technology. My black reflective paintings entertain this ability to “see” or possess vision by reflecting the surrounding environment from their high gloss surfaces. I created a technique that achieves a reflective surface through mixing and pouring paint in a technically incorrect manner. This process depends on many variables and forces me to work in an experimental way that influences the work to change.
In my current attempt to make my own paint, I have developed ink from black beans. I create this pigment by soaking heirloom black beans in effect obtaining a spectrum of violet, indigo, green, and black. I soak the beans from hours in warm water to leaving the bean juice in my refrigerator for a year in an effort to create a black pigment. I have been studying black beans in their dried, soaked and cooked forms. These investigations are leading me to my proposed project of light harvesting black bean solar paintings. Making art began with film photography as a young adult. I found it wild and experimental to expose my images in the darkroom and in the sun to find the images. When it came time to study and be part of an artist community, studying blacksmithing and working for metal artists in New Mexico enchanted me.
Eventually I moved into installation and performance art while studying art, metalsmithing, and architecture at Cranbrook Academy of Art, a design focused school. In my early professional days I made commissioned metal pieces for clients but left it all to make paintings. I eventually ended up showing paintings and videos in my first solo show at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. With this exhibition I dove into a world of painting. My reflective paintings were recently selected to be in the New American Paintings survey of contemporary painting at the Elmhurst Museum of art in Illinois. After exhibiting this work I wanted to engage the audience in less of a psychological manner and thus a period of questioning followed. I was able to study in more depth my interest in black paint through the Arts Council Creative Renewal Arts Fellowship. Through this, experimenting with black beans and the resulting ink impacted my direction with black materials. My first public art commission soon followed and I switched gears into working large scale and towards a different audience. I absolutely loved how many people end up seeing and engaging in the art. The work was harking back to my design art education in conjunction to successfully being readily available for the public to understand. From this project I realized having this immediacy or connection to the viewer is what I desire to have in my future work.
MFA, Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
BFA, College of Santa Fe, Santa Fe, New Mexico