My recent work employs the synergy of cyanotype and painting techniques to create imaginary worlds and figurative tableau on cloth. Decades of dedication as a printmaker, yoga practitioner, dancer, and educator with a doctorate in art history informs my approach to image-making. For most of my career, my energy and inspiration sprang from the diversity, vitality, and friction of urban life in my native New York City and Philadelphia. Relocating to rural New Hampshire to care for my terminally-ill relative shifted my awareness to the breadth of the sky and lakes, the shapes of rocks and trees, the celestial bodies, and the irrefutable impact of climate change. This new context catalyzed a change in imagery and media, and I became interested in creating fabric cyanotypes that could be displayed in the manner of Tibetan Thangkas.
Using cyanotype on cloth, I experiment with light and gesture to produce dynamic compositions with human and natural forms. I incorporate my own body or work with other yoga practitioners in improvisational poses that focus on a particular theme such as freedom, breath, or protest. In addition to thematic imagery, my cyanotypes explore the expressive potential of blue to signify emotion, nature, and cultural contexts. Blue, a color that has powerful symbolism in many cultures and religions, signifies buoyancy, our aqueous origins, storms and floods, and the throat chakra or Vishuddha. Most often, I use blue to signify water or the energy that surrounds us.
A layered, blue environment surrounds the figure as shapes emerge, “pop” or flicker, and appear to glow or fade. Much of the imagery is implied or indeterminate. Working monochromatically, I concentrate on silhouettes, gradations, and halos that appear to radiate light. I experiment with mark-making and chemistry in relationship to the season and the changing light conditions. Many of these pieces are double-sided and I exhibit them set off from the wall. In its finished state, this work is a marriage of fiber processes, painting, photography, and even some choreography.
Recent cyanotypes concentrate on two themes. The theme of struggle is evident in works that focus on a single or pair of figures caught in a conflict or effort to defend and protect. The frenetic composition frames the body in tense or defiant poses. The theme of growth is expressed by figures that are fetal, germinal, floating, emergent, and by celestial beings. Their bodies are relaxed, lyrical, and buoyant, supported by breath and a watery, womblike space. These recent works respond to ways in which the individual engages with relationships, be they familial or societal. They represent a struggle to maintain self-determination and participate in a community while also securing the sanctity of her own body and being.