Handmade paper, wire, beeswax, pigment, matte medium, roving
A group of recent works has been based on identifiably cellular forms – both flat and dimensional – created using my signature material of my own handmade paper, sometimes stretched over a wire armature, and sometimes cast onto molds. I am fascinated by both their visual presence and metaphoric potential; these cell-like discs and mounds often evoke a visceral reaction, and also function metaphorically to express and critique aspects of social interaction, political movements, and humanity’s relationship to the earth.
The concept of infection and its transmission: not only biological infections, but also infectious ideas and how humanity’s spread across the planet can be compared to the progression of a virus is also the core of Propagation – a sister piece to Contagion. Again, the nearly flat, cell- like paper forms are connected at their edges to form a cluster or mass, and again, red & magenta wool roving is affixed to the waxed, pigmented surfaces, crawling through the piece as it “infects” more and more of the adjacent cells. In this new work, I have created clusters of paper cylinders, using encaustic to color them a deep blood-red, and added them to the work. They seem to multiply and cluster more thickly in the more infected cells; there is a purposeful ambiguity as to whether they are source, part, or result of the infection, or an attempt of the cell to fight it off. In this piece, the ‘infection’ has also spread more deeply into the overall cell cluster – there are few unaffected cells remaining in this piece.