These new works require a lot of time and space to breathe. The composition is simple and the work itself could be done in a day, but it’s the process that makes these paintings full.
My work is intuitive (a highly charged word in the art world, I know). I spend a lot of time grounding, meditating, and quite literally laying on the floor before I begin working. I try to turn off my thinking mind so I become just a vehicle for the work to come through.
I have been collecting fabric for as long as I can remember. The base fabric for a lot of these works is hand-woven cotton made by artisans in Oaxaca. I lay out the fabric on my studio floor, paint, drip and pour all over the surface. The physicality of this process centers me in my body. I look to my favorite painter, Helen Frankenthaler for inspiration here, her courage and ability to be bold in a world that at the time was ruled mostly by men is so unbelievably inspiring. Her work is authentic and uncompromising. You can feel in her canvases the quality of the air and the details of the sky with just a simple gesture. The feeling is palpable and it translates so clearly.
The fabric then sits in my studio, breathes again, gets sun bleached, sometimes I’ll find new water marks on the pieces (sometimes this bothers me and sometimes it feels good). When I was younger I don’t think I had the courage to let things sit for too long. I liked to wrap things up in a finished package - ready for sale, ready for a critique. Maybe it’s getting older, or maybe it’s this baby inside me, forcing me to slow down, or maybe it’s a little bit of both. I am ok with mess now, I am ok with it being undone, in process, on the verge of becoming. I am ok with each piece requiring less and less “work.”
After the fabric has lived a bit in this new state, I rip in into shapes – reminding myself (and the fabric) that nothing is permanent, nothing is static, and for that reason, I never plot out anything before I start.
The fragmented pieces then sit on the floor of my studio, breathe again, and then on a day when I feel particularly energized I start the process of piecing them together. For this body of work, I have been particularly inspired by the women of Gees Bend. In their world of creations, there is no such thing as perfect, they let the fabrics guide the them and it’s some of the most beautiful and earnest work I’ve ever seen. It is heartbreakingly incredibly honest.
It’s hard to know when the painting process begins or ends – I feels like I’m forever pulling moments, patching fragments and stitching them together. It’s all the little things: like driving across the Brooklyn Bridge with warm breeze whipping through the windows, or the deep color of my husband’s hair, or the first sunset I experienced in Tadao Ando’s structure at Casa Wabi, or the baby pea-shoot by my window sill that’s little arms reached taller to grow, or the first walk I took with my mom through tall green trees after my father passed away. It’s the journey of how all the pieces land together - it’s the space in-between.