Robert Rauchenberg liked to use the "surprise" of found objects and incorporate them into his work. He described them as "combines," objects that he integrated into his painted pieces.
I like his description. I've been collecting objects such as vintage doors, antique cameras, unusual frames, old lace, ancient mannequins and things that contain their own patina and wear and age. The used life of these objects gives them a "soul" of their own.
Using objects that have weathered the decades adds another dimension to my work. We humans begin to resemble antiques as we grow older, gathering our own patina. I love the abused mannequin that I found at a flea market in Chicago. I used a reproduction post office door to include a painting in the mannequin's chest (her heart chakra).
The painting of the wonderful botanical artist and explorer Margaret Mee incorporates a battered green door. It provides a window on the world that Mee inhabited, the Amazon rainforest.
I used an antique frame to "house" my painting of Mary Kingsley, who devoted much of her life to caring for her parents and, after their death, sailed for Africa and spent 11 months exploring the Congo and Gabon. Despite the hardships of trekking through the jungle, Kingsley continued to wear her Victorian clothes. She returned to England and wrote about her incredible adventures in "Travels in West Africa."
24-1/2"W x 40"H, Oil on panel inside antique Russian frame
The Voyager (Detail)
Antique mannequin, lace, beads, iron key, post office window, painting
16”W x 16”D x 78”H
3”W x 4”H, oil on board
40" W x 26" H, Oil on linen
“And did you get what you wanted from this life even so?
And what did you want?
To call myself beloved, to feel myself beloved on the earth.” Raymond Carver
49"W X 32"H, Oil on linen
"I am the daughter of Earth and Water, And the nursling of the Sky; I pass through the pores of the ocean and shores; I change, but I cannot die."
Percy Bysshe Shelley
Oil on linen, 36"W x 24"H
"Take your broken heart and make it into art." Carrie Fisher
Red Cat Series
The Red Cat paintings are intimately connected to my own growth and exploration. The red cat is a potent symbol of my vulnerable inner self that appeared to me in a dream.
The first painting in the series is one of my earliest pieces and represents a need to understand ancient cultures, to study texts on psychology, mythology, interpretation of fairy tales and dreams, meditation, et al.
The second painting represents the application of what I was learning and witnessing in the world and the formulation of my personal world view.
The third painting represents an understanding of my place in the world and the things that I need to manifest my desires -- the thick skin of a hippo, the wisdom of a fox and the tree of life, which sustains us all.
These pieces were painted over a period of 20 years.