Handmade Paper, beeswax, powdered pigment, foam, wool, wool roving, wood, glue
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.
Ripening, the third work in the series that began with Contagion and Propagation, breaks new ground in my exploration of paper-based cellular forms. Instead of flat adjacent ovals, the swelling bulges in Ripening are dimensional; clustered tightly and protruding toward the viewer organically, with holes in the center of each that allow visual access to the interiors of the pale, nearly translucent protuberances, and to the felted spheres that seem to be growing and ripening inside. This work strongly evokes a visceral reaction; the forms are intriguing, a little creepy or gross, but also hopefully beautiful in their way – and offer a metaphor of seeds ripening, or fungi releasing spores, or cells sending chemical messages.
In the context of the recent political awakening and surge in activism, the pink spheres that seem to be growing and preparing to emerge from the cell-like forms offer a metaphor for those of us who have “come out of our shells” and been “turned into activists” by the Trump Administration and its depredations. There is something of the “#metoo” movement reflected here too – the spheres can read as secrets that women have carried within, buried and sickening like an abscess, that are being shared and acknowledged; the infection lanced, the poison finally released and cleaned out.