When making my 2017 show Biota, I was inspired by a little planthopper that had evolved a small bio-gear in its hind legs. I thought of it as a perfect mechanical/insect hybrid. An early idea for the show was to paint abstract versions of hybrids, but it didn’t really come about–I went into insects, then political art for a bit, then back to insects as themes. But I really liked the idea of blending animals with insects, flowers with bugs, goats with blooms or dragonflies or whatever came about. There is a lovely egalitarianism I associate with creating hybrids.
As I began working with Michael David before his NY Art Fair Residency in early 2019, I was experimenting with black and white. By the time I came home I had a renewed energy for pushing them forward. With his guidance and suggestions, I started making pieces that got closer and closer to what I was trying to express. Visually they are completely different from my other work. I paid less attention to the design and more attention to my intuition. They felt more painterly than planned out. Because they are encaustic, whatever brushiness they had melted into soft swirls and smooth washes of light over dark.
One afternoon during a facetime meeting, Michael suggesting adding Prussian blue over the black to make it a bit more palatable, and it was like magic. These somewhat spooky images became more medical feeling, and the light transparent washes of the Prussian added an intensity. They also reminded me of the angiogram I’d seen of my dad’s heart at the hospital after surgery (yes I’m planning on painting his angiogram images). I had been studying a book of x-rays from the 1980’s I found in a junk store, and was hoping to make work that resembled parts of plants, animals and humans as well as x-rays. They became an odd blend of cattle and deep-sea fish. Some reminded me of urchins or owls—some resembled gills, bones, snakes, horns, ghosts, jelly fish, sea cucumbers and the occasional goat.