"The questions I pursue primarily relate to the importance we ascribe to spirituality."
What makes your work and approach unique?
Objects that I’ve collected over a lifetime are layered, juxtaposed or woven together with my painting, drawing, photography, sculpture, silhouette cutting, and stitch-work in my “combinatorial” practice. In much of my work I employ a technique of printing my photographs on clear acetates and layering them, or hovering one above another, to obtain new patterns, configurations and color combinations. I keep in the back of my mind a quote from the late Harvard psychologist Jerome Bruner - "All of the forms of effective surprise grow out of a combinatorial activity — a placing of things in new perspectives."
What are your sources of inspiration?
My archaeological background is a well-spring of conceptual inspiration. Also, artists as diverse as Antoni Tapies, Francesco Clemente and Maurizio Cattelan are conceptual influences, and artists such as Remedios Varo, Joseph Cornell and Sigmar Polke have influenced my compositional approach. Recent readings of books published by Quantum Prose Press and books/essays by Harry Houdini, Edward Harrison, Umberto Eco and Gary Snyder have also expanded my perspective in poetic and what might be called “scientific/philosophical" imagination.
Tell us the back-story of some of your projects.
For two years, and inspired by many visits to Venice, Italy, I used a formal “framing” for my works that are inspired by 16th century Italian, French and German Tarot playing cards. I’ve given this series the title “The Broken Vessel Cartomancy”. The 13 artworks invite personal divination as viewers imagine how they might be interpreted or “played” for themselves by tapping into a centuries-old Cartomancy that facilitated self-reflection and even storytelling. Italo Calvino described Tarot cards as a “combinatorial narrative machine”.
Share with us your upcoming projects?
Artist Nicole Monforti and I are developing a collaborative project to explore the possibility of "absorbing" another's persona into our own. It is known scientifically that someone who is part of our experiential memory becomes physically part of us – strong memories become physically embedded in our neurons. Can this also be the case when we experience another’s important spaces and their objects even without experiencing their owner's physical being? Does it require a certain psychic sensitivity? Is it even valid to think in these terms?
"My aim going forward is to initiate thinking about Human and Nature/Human as Nature”
How do you feel about art and its role?
Art can serve as the portal that reflects diverse philosophical and cultural perspectives, and to open personal conversations between viewer and artwork.
How do you want your art to effect the viewer?
My aim going forward is to initiate thinking about “Human and Nature/Human as Nature”, aligned with the basic premises of “Vital Matter” and “Deep Ecology” – that all components of global ecology, including humankind, are equal in stature and concern. The trick is finding balance between visual elegance and the idea (with a dose of humor), and the effect of chance and poetic universality - universal in that one might be drawn in to engage with the image long enough to draw one’s own meaning from it.