My aim is to tell stories of regenerative life cycles of all kinds - human, geological, ecological, and spiritual. The imagery references themes such as dreams, memories, rituals, and ghosts, speaking to the human experience lived and imagined. These paintings are rendered almost entirely from natural pigments and inks which I have foraged for in sites such as ochre or clay deposits, or from plants such as sumac, buckthorn, and black walnut. Others I have collected from around the world, purchased from suppliers, or have been given to me as gifts. These colorants have unique histories that are relative to their uses, origins, cultural connections, and - as is often the case with any worthwhile commodity - which groups have traded and exploited them. In my practice I factor in these layers of association in addition to considering what they are made out of. I reflect on where my hand is in the process - how procuring the colors I use informs their application. When I work with ochre - an orange/red earth pigment made of iron-oxide - I explore it’s dimension as an elemental mirror of the human life-force and the planet, connected through blood and soil. When I work with cochineal - a scale insect that produces a bright red color - I remind myself of its long history as an Indigenous pigment from Central America, and it’s subsequent appropriation through Spanish colonization. I also aim to honor it’s sacrifice as a living being.
Nature does not function in a straight line but in a regenerative pattern of decomposition and growth. In my practice geologic “Deep Time” comes into consideration with the earth pigments I use, life and death is manifested with the plants and the animals gathered and sacrificed. Painting with ochres, minerals, and natural inks is a form of time travel - of bringing together birth and death, old and new. I work with natural color materials because they are both transient and still, echoing my exploration of what time and materiality might mean within a greater awareness of the world around us; dead or alive, or somewhere in between.