For several decades and in a range of media, I have looked to architectural details, including structural and decorative elements, weathered surfaces, graffiti, and attached signage, as starting points in my work. Despite being grounded in observable phenomena, the resulting pieces are abstractions that hint at the built environment without illustration and without specificity.
Since 2009, a collection of sheet music covers from the early-to-mid 1900s has been the primary source material for my collage work. Using materials that, independent of my intervention, carry their own history and aesthetic appeal presents both opportunities and challenges. These vintage papers are compelling, with their period-specific typography, color and illustrations. Traces of individual lives—stains, creases, notations in pencil and pen—are still visible in these pieces of ephemera, while collective histories and cultural norms of the era are reflected in the musical styles, lyrics, and cover artwork. More complicated are the choices of what to preserve and what to sacrifice to the making of a collage. What historical value does this material have, and what does it mean to destroy it? Through countless steps of sorting and selection, adding and subtracting, a piece is completed. Fragments of type, layers of color, and evidence of tearing and scraping create a dense record of decisions and actions taken. Always there is a reference to the passage of time and the deterioration/transformation of all beings, objects, and cultural artifacts.
After receiving my BFA from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, I spent several years in Barcelona, Spain, painting and teaching English. I returned to the U.S. in 1991 and lived mostly in the Boston area before moving to Santa Cruz in 2002. I have been an exhibiting artist in Santa Cruz County’s Open Studios since 2003 and have had work in numerous local and national shows.