Life adapts to change. Many of us are doing our best to reduce excessive waste, to reuse and recycle, and to repurpose materials, objects, and spaces. It occurred to me that the art of collage is conducive to this endeavor, which got me to thinking about the Dada collagists of the European Avant-Garde, struggling to reshape the world through their art. My head swam with image fragments and typographic elements, and thoughts of reassembling our current existence from deconstructed pieces of the past. Perhaps the puzzle of our lives can be rearranged in a more promising way, so that the pieces and spaces in between harmonize, and balance is more possible for all earthly creatures. (2021, charcoal on paper, 56” x 35”, 142.2 cm x 88.9 cm, frame included)
TEMPLE FOR HUMANITY
The motifs in Anatolian rugs are derived from a variety of sources that traverse cultural and geographic divides. Artistic traditions from across the Mediterranean can be appreciated in Anatolian rug designs through the centuries where the faiths of Islam, Judaism and Christianity intertwine. The complexity and beauty of these rugs reflects the interwoven nature of humanity itself.
In the drawing Temple for Humanity (which features an Anatolian prayer rug), my desire was to focus on very simple and universal elements and to speak of spirituality without exclusive reference to one religion or cultural tradition. In this piece, there is a bowl for physical/spiritual cleansing, sandals are removed as a sign of respect, and tall shapes lend themselves to spiritual themes. Stains around the drawing and within its composition speak of surfaces humbled by age. Ultimately, the Temple for Humanity can be interpreted as the inner sanctum of the room with its rug, and simultaneously as the austere and unknowable mountains seen beyond. (2010, charcoal and stain on paper, 52” x 20”, 132.1 cm x 50.8 cm, frame included)
This drawing was inspired from a dance piece in which a dancer raised her head to receive an imagined drink of ambrosia (the sweet nectar of the gods according to Greek mythology). Moving from myth to the real world, there are countless ways in which nature provides us with gifts that enrich our body and spirit. With this image, I wish to make a connection between the mythical reference (ambrosia) and something from the real world (the dragonfly). By portraying both of them as magical and wondrous gifts, our perception of the natural world may be enhanced and made more precious. (2000, charcoal on paper, 44” x 30”, 111.8 cm x 76.2 cm, frame included, sold)
PROUD NEW ERA
Mythology provides culture with a metaphoric portrait of its spiritual values. As any living thing changes through time, so too does the face of culture. Re-evaluation, or even reinvention, of mythology is part of what keeps a culture spiritually and ideologically healthy and able to adapt to change. Otherwise, the metaphoric relevance of myth becomes divorced from the spiritual needs of the culture that created it.
I do not consider the snake in Proud New Era a symbol of evil or temptation. Rather, it is a symbol of individuality, determination and strength. It is emblematic of ideological terrain that is unpopular because of preconceptions and stereotypes that underpin much of our cultural heritage. (2001, charcoal on paper, 28” x 19”, 71.1 cm x 48.3 cm, frame included)
(2002, charcoal on paper, 44” x 30”, 111.8 cm x 76.2 cm, frame included)