“Oregon Sunshine” is the first wildflower I noticed blooming on Hay Creek Ranch which, along with the sunrises there, creates a mood of optimism. In times of great political division, as well as local and global worries, I sought a topic that could bring people together. My answer is the universal appreciation of the beauty of nature.
From the back wall of Art Adventure Gallery wrapping around to the front, is the 12-paneled mixed-media installation “Oregon Sunshine.” The layers of history to create the piece involved repurposing prior artwork. Beginning with digitizing “Sunrise,” a 3 x 4 ft acrylic painting on stretched canvas with a surface disrupted by woven strips of painted canvas (2015, also on display). Because of the scale and consequent resolution required for output, I photographed the painting in sections and then merged the images together. I digitally adjusted the vertical composition for output on 3 sections of vinyl which were displayed outdoors for 6 months in Watertown, MA, by the Mosesian Center for the Arts and Grow Gallery (2017).
When the artwork was returned, I cut out a damaged area and created a series of ten small mixed media works as part of the “Production - Process - Collaboration” installation curated by Marina Moreno at Tate Liverpool, England (2019). Later, I cut the remaining vinyl into twelve panels (3 x 5 ft each). I gessoed and painted sections; sewed on circles of string I crocheted along with plastic mesh produce bags and wove in additional painted canvas graphic bars. Each piece was then mounted on 3 wood bars (which had another life as the dividers of foam surfboard blanks used during the manufacturing process). I displayed the panels outdoors for one day (vimeo.com/335790381).
At the front left side of the gallery, I created a site-specific installation “Wash Your Worries Away,” inspired by a broken water pipe that damaged the floor. I salvaged materials from the Hay Creek Ranch dumpsite, including a wood palette, tin pail, broken pipe, rebar, and nails to build a shower. In addition, I sewed wildflowers of plastic mesh produce bags and crocheted string onto a shower curtain. In one day I sawed, sanded, drilled, and attached salvaged wood planks to the palette for the structure, then I plasma-cut scrap metal and welded on nails to form the showerhead. I ended the day by crocheting the final few circles to complete the wildflowers which I sewed on in the following days.
Pens, pencils, and pieces of paper finish the installation. As a means to engage visitors, I invite them to participate in the work by writing down their worries and crumpling them up and throwing them into the shower pail.
Also on display are four wall pieces. “Wild-Flower” is of scrap and found metal objects, which I plasma-cut and welded together. The background is a sheet of metal with shotgun holes. Both “Mass Flowers” and “10-10-10-10-10” include found shotgun shells which I used as flower petals. My intended message is derived from the Flower Power era of the late 1960s and early 1970s, protesting the Vietnam War. In current times, it’s not only in protest of wars but also of mass shootings. The “Wild Yarrow” painting-sculpture also includes scrap metal pieces welded together and painted canvas sewn onto it. It is the most abstract interpretation of the wildflower exploration, inspired by the square pieces of pipe I discovered outside of the ranch shop.
On pedestals are five dioramas contained in empty bottles of alcohol that address current topics. The hot topic of gender and gender fluidity inspired “She/Her/Hers” and “He/Him/His.” I filled both bottles with gummy bears, which are gender-neutral. “No Evi”l is filled with 300 blended (in an industrial blender) plastic cocktail monkeys. “No” is filled with blended shotgun shells, topped with a sawed-off shell, and similarly addresses my anti-gun violence theme. Finally, there’s “Snuggles.” Inspired by images in the news of the condition of Migrant Detention Centers with the concrete floors and cells divided by chain-linked fencing. I ordered mylar blankets online because I was curious about how comfortable it would be to sleep wrapped in one. I was surprised by how flimsy and NOISY they are. I shredded one and stuffed it into the bottle which I topped with a polymer clay teddy bear. My intention is to stir thoughts on the contrast of “comfort objects” especially in consideration of the conditions for children and the impact on their development.
Last of all, is the centerpiece: “Tree Madonna II.” I admired the remains of a fallen tree and decided to rescue a piece of the bark. I cleaned it, painted and sprayed on layer after layer of shellac, and attached it to a sawed-off section of the tree trunk. I was in the process of creating wildflower metal sculptures when I decided to add the flowers and then my signature female form to finish the piece.