I’ve explored connection, comfort and transformation in my work for many years through installations, commissions and short series of 2-D work. In “The Invitation”, a painting commissioned by Ellis Hospital for their adolescent treatment center, I intentionally engage viewers using macro and micro imagery because families and their children need strong distractions as they await staff updates. Ellis hospital is in my home town, Schenectady, NY.
I moved out west for healing; my health suffered since my early 20s. My disabilities taught me that long-term medical issues make us vulnerable to secondary symptoms resulting from stress and stigma. My public art installation “Push Down and Tango” addressed these risks. Its unapologetic flamboyance communicated pride and resilience, shifting the stigma around illness; reminding viewers they are valuable, regardless of their bodies’ functionality. It inspired them to push against amygdala-imposed boundaries and feed on soulful activities. I grew tremendously as an artist during crowd funding/sourcing, coordinating with 120 people.
The work’s fabric roses reference my love of sewing handed down by my mother who gave me a sewing machine when I was 8 years old. Immediately I made stuffed furniture for my Barbie dolls and mini quilts for relatives. Later I studied art at the New York State Summer School for the Arts and the Philadelphia College of Art and earned a bachelors’ degree in theater from Temple University.
My flair for the dramatic sparkles in “Listening to Twelve Petals”, one painting in a short series featuring “The Listener”. I created these while recovering from a serious illness; the panda’s cuddly presence reassured me. He listened compassionately. Several of these are permanently installed in Michael Margolis’ biological dental practice. I also made “Portrait of a Master Healer” for Aarron Duncan Smith’s Jin Shin Jytsu practice. It was featured on the cover of The Arcadian magazine (Phoenix, AZ). The Listener series was also featured inside with an article about my work. Nearly all of my 2-D work is in private and corporate collections, including chiropractic offices and massage therapy studios.
While working on commissions I receive intuitive information. To develop it further I chose clairvoyance training when I was awarded special funding from Arizona Rehabilitative Services. I became a professional psychic and created my oracle deck featured in “OURacle” at Mesa College Gallery’s In-Part Exhibition (San Diego). Viewers self-read with the cards and a dedicated Instagram account where the Instagram community provided interpretations. Viewers connected with themselves and complete strangers while seeking guidance and healing. My other psychic installation “Thought Forest”, was featured in the National Geographic film City of Creativity: San Diego. In this work and many others, nature guides my process.
During the pandemic when interactivity stopped and ZOOM flourished, I trained as an Eating Disorder Recovery Coach. I envision a support group utilizing expressive arts for empowerment and healing. I joined such a group for cancer survivors and began painting simple color fields on rocks. Their soothing simplicity comforted me and became “Let’s Play Enchanté”, an installation chosen for the Oceanside Museum of Art Biennial and The Front Porch Gallery’s Our Healing Journey exhibition. Visitors are invited to play with the rocks, create connections, discover hidden sides, similarities and differences. Simply holding rocks in our hands is healing; connecting us with our essence. Although disabilities tend to isolate us and create “otherness”, art making can re-connect us to our communities.
As our world moves more online, we need anchors to the present and our environment; nature’s eternal rhythms support optimal health. I will continue to explore these themes in my 2-D and installation work.