Line is the thread that ties my sculptures and works on paper together. It is this simple design element that defines my sculpting and drawing.
“ There is a palpable difference between a line that's alive and tense and somehow natural, and one that dies like a bum note. You can feel the vitality of Miró's line from your head to your toes, your hand clenching and unclenching in your pocket, somehow feeling in your own body the artist's concentration – the tensing of his wrist, the movement of his hand – as you follow the line on its way to nowhere. I imagine Miró holding his breath as he draws, and I hold mine too as I look.”
As in the Adrian Searle’ quote, I too have emotions about lines and the stories a simple line can tell. The lines in my work can be seen in the frayed and moth-eaten edge of an all too worn-out felt hat, or in the eroded straws of a foundry broom. They chronicle the tilt of a forgotten old man’s head, the sharpness of his bristly beard and the cavity of his slumped shoulders. Line distinguishes the twist in a dog’s spine, or the smooth arch in a woman’s back and the tension in her oblique fingers. I too am inspired by the line and the gulf between a line that is alive and organic and a line that is mechanical and tense, a line with a gentle ending that makes you feel at ease or joyous and a line that stops abruptly and takes your breath away.
Through lines I have built a body of work that focuses on capturing the emotional or physical energy of a particular event, through sculpture or works on paper. How I achieve this depends on which process I use. In my abstracts it is the least amount of detail that creates the most energy or life in a piece, and in my bronze burnouts, (the term burnouts refers to the process of physically burning away an organic material or ready-made object to a cavity in the mold), it is the detail of the wear and tear that is gripping. For example, in “suffrage” it is the distressed and tattered leather that airs the frustrations felt by women struggling for equal rights. In “comb here” it is the gesture of the line that manifest the moment a determined grandfather catches his squirming grandson to comb his hair. In either case I am engaged in an ongoing experiment with lines, and materials, with an interest in narrative.
The need to create has always been a characteristic of my personality that I cannot turn off - it finds its way into every aspect of my life. Spending my early years on an isolated cotton farm outside of El Paso, Texas, I entertained myself with daily art projects - painting, drawing, sculpting, beading, designing and stitching. It was living in this desert environment that I first remember being mesmerized by the elegance and grace of cracked, decaying and twisted wood, and patterns made by organic matter. During my early twenties as a freelance graphic designer in El Paso, Texas I designed custom furnishings, and painted murals for interior designers. Struggling financially I made my way into commercial real estate and learned about construction. Through my thirties and forties while raising my children my need to be creative was satisfied by remodeling and adding square footage on to old homes, knocking out walls, moving plumbing and electrical. For most of these jobs I drew my own plans, was the contractor, designer and custom painter. I often designed the home furnishings, light fixtures and sinks to fit exactly the remodeled spaces.
While living in New Orleans and remodeling a home built in 1908 I discovered the historical french art form of ferrocement faux bois, which embraces the same beauty in nature that I have obsessively studied and photographed my entire life. When my youngest child left for college I decided it was time to refocus my creative energies. After two years of searching for a teacher I found Donald Tucker, an artist in ferrocement faux bois. With a little arm-twisting Donald agreed to teach me the chemistry and skills he took years to perfect. After creating a few pieces on my own I found that I wanted to take the craft of ferrocement faux bois to another level.
I then began to research metals that would be compatible with the concrete. Bronze was the perfect alloy. A brief internship with bronze sculptor Bridgette Mongeon confirmed my interest in bronze. One day after assisting Bridgette she gave me a lump of clay and sent me home to sculpt my first piece to be later added to a faux bois bench.
After sculpting my second piece I decided I needed to learn about the complete process of casting in bronze from the original carving or sculpture to the end of the process at the foundry. Enrolling in the foundry class at the Museum of Fine Art Houston Glassell Studio School and studying under the direction of artist David Medina has given me the opportunity to sculpt bronze pieces to accent my faux bois work as well as inspired me to create independent bronze sculptures.
January 2014 was a major milestone in my career as an artist. The city of Houston, Texas purchased two small bronze pieces from me. “Heritage” is on display at the Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport Terminal for international flights. A sculpting workshop with Simon Kogan in March 2014 opened up a more visceral, creative side of me that I did not know existed and has been exciting to explore. Fall of 2014 I decided to further explore this new form of instinctive creativity and enrolled in Brian Portman’s Mark Making and Gestures class and the Monumentals Workshop at the Glassell School of Art. This was my first drawing class in forty years. My goal in the class was to explore drawing in the same visceral and instinctive way I was enjoying sculpting. It takes complete focus to draw and sculpt not as I see others draw and sculpt but as is inherent and instinctive to the artist in me. I am encouraged to continue on this track as my first series of drawings “Happy Dog” was selected for the Works on Paper Exhibit 2015 and my "shake shake shake" series was selected for the Kinder Morgan Exhibit September 2015. I find the drawing works well with the sculpting as the sculpting is very physical and is difficult to keep up seven days a week. The drawing is also a faster process to complete and it is nice to have projects that do not take six months to years to complete as when casting sculptures in bronze.
Early in 2016 I discovered sculpting in wire. The process is a beautiful combination of drawing and sculpting…
April of 2016 I was accepted into the MFAH Glassell Studio School BLOCK 2016 fellowship. This program provides me with a studio at the school/museum property. I will have 24 hr. access to the facilities and weekly mentorship is provided from the school, museum, art community and out of town visitors.
EXHIBITS AND INSTALLATIONS
2014 Portable Works Collection, George Bush International Airport, Houston, TX
2017 -2nd in Show – Conroe Art League Invitational, Conroe, TX
2016 -Honorable Mention – BUILD National Juried Exhibition, Ciel Gallery, Charlotte, NC
-Selected into the MFAH BLOCK XVI studio program
-Scholarship, MFAH Glassell School of Art, Houston, TX
2017 -BLOCK XVI, Interspace Gallery, MFAH Glassell School of Art, Houston, TX
-Texas National 2017, SFA Galleries, TX
-Line, Kinder Morgan, MFAH Glassell School of Art, Houston, TX
2016 -Student Show, MFAH Glassell School of Art, Houston, TX
-Moments that Matter, Impasto Art Gallery, Longmont, CO
Juror - Co-Executive Editor of ARTNews Barbara A. MacAdam
-Regional Juried Exhibition, Houston Metal Arts Guild, Jung Center, Houston, TX
-Build, National Juried Exhibition, Ciel gallery, Charlotte, North Carolina
Juror – Murray Whisnant, FAIA
-Bank of the Arts National Juried Exhibition, Craven Arts Council and Gallery, New Bern, NC
Juror – Larry Wheeler, Director of the North Carolina Museum of Art
-3rd Regional Juried Exhibition, Artspace111, Fort Worth, TX
Juror - Eric Lee, Director of the Kimbell Art Museum
2015 -Kinder Morgan Exhibition, Student Show, MFAH Glassell School of Art, Houston, TX
-Student Show, MFAH Glassell School of Art, Houston, TX
2014 -Kinder Morgan Exhibition, Student Show, MFAH Glassell School of Art, Houston, TX
-Student Show, MFAH Glassell School of Art, Houston, TX
-Another Layover, Houston Arts Alliance Gallery
2016-2017 BLOCK Program, MFAH Glassell School of Art, Houston, TX
2013-2017 MFAH Glassell School of Art, Houston, TX
1974-1978 Graphic Design, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX
-Bridgette, Mongeon, 3D Technology In Fine Art and Craft, Focal Press 2016, p. 255-6, 273, 300
-Ekphrasis 2016, Ekphrast Poetry and the Art That Inspired it from the 2016 Bank Of The Arts
National Juried Exhibition, p. 37