As a child some weekends we visited my grandparents in a farmhouse of decaying grandeur in New Jersey and other weekends we’d stay home and traipse through the halls of great New York City museums. I always imagined how these places could be different, how they were a portal to another time, an imagined life. In the attic of my grandparents home there were dust covered steamer trunks filled with ballgowns while the American Wing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art offered a glimpse into the interiors of early American homes. I dreamt of wearing these ballgowns and living in a different era, but despite my dreamy nature I never got much beyond dress-up in shoddy 1970’s halloween costumes.
As the mother of two girls with fanciful imaginations in an era when unfettered childhood fantasy is interrupted or negated by an abundant access to technology I have sought to preserve and create for my daughters a little bit of the magic I longed to have brought into my own childhood while avoiding much of the contemporary child’s play market and trying to impart an honest sense of the world we live in today.
I find great inspiration in anything from fairytales to the primal relationships between humans and nature to current events. Every fairytale has a dark side, the death of a parent, the loss of a power and in an era of social and political upheaval and environmental degradation, the dreams and fantasy of a child are effected and shaped by the external forces buzzing in the world around them. In A Nursery Rhyme for You My Dear I am attempting to both create a child-like fantasy world and to allow the harshness of reality to seep in. When I make an image I am very interested in exploring it’s underbelly. It may look pretty on the outside, but perhaps there is more to it. I want to both dwell on and delete some of the darkness in any given scenario, to try on a story for size, to understand what it might be like to exist in that moment and how to learn from it, but also leave it behind, as if in a dream.
As a girl I was a little lonely, a little obsessive and filled with a certain gapping longing for love. I imagined when I grew up I would, as a single mother, have a hundred children. Each would have long purple hair and dress entirely in shades of purple. I’d chauffeur them about in my beat up stretch purple limosine and we’d live in a ramshackle clapboard house with a rickety picket fence brimming with a raucous sort of love. Things have changed since then and my life didn’t turn out quite as unconventionally as I had hoped, but this desire to love and be loved has persisted as well as a certain sense of (often self-inflicted) loneliness. In Maternal Nature I have begun to explore the essence of unconditional love between a parent and a child, a sense of being both surrounded by beings and deeply alone, the awkwardness and self-possession of childhood and the comfort and self-exploration that can be found in a relationship with an inanimate object.
I remember the day, at age six, when my great-grandmother’s childhood home was torn down. It was an opulent place with ballrooms and gilded halls long abandoned for a smaller more practical house on the same property. Pre-demolition my father lead my older sister and I through the dusty halls and I gapped at the buckling floors and broken windows, imagining what it might have been like to inhabit the space between those walls. There was another house down the road where my father grew up, where I grew up spending summers, weekends and holidays and where until recently my children spent all of their Christmases. Two years ago my grandfather passed away and in his passing, this family home, this gathering place, this place of memory ceased to exist. This loss made me frantic. I had a desperation to document the place so that I might never forget it, so that my memory might be prompted by the images of a certain room or bench or tree. Now that this home, this place where I belonged, is gone I have a compelling need to document spaces slated for demolition or drastic renovation, spaces where the possible lives that passed between the walls are palpable or inspire a certain sense of possibility. In Ghosts Immemorial I aim to bring a whisp of life to spaces forgotten, abandoned, left for dead, spaces we can no longer afford to live in or maintain, spaces deemed no longer necessary for contemporary life, spaces in need of new life.
Not For You My Dear
On the eve of my younger daughter's sixth birthday she was desperate to receive gifts, gifts and more gifts. Overwhelmed by the rampant consumerism our culture promotes, I thought I'd examine the desire to have stuff, how the psyche is affected when gifts are intended for someone else, the joy of receiving gifts, the joy of giving gifts, celebrations of life that don't require ownership of material belongings and what happens when someone else indulges in your gifts. I aspire to a simpler life unfettered by the burdens of stuff and yet am constantly sucked down the rabbit hole of desire.