Portfolio: Abstract Work
My impulse to create art emerges partly from childhood longings: A little girl’s fascination with flowers. A greedy toddler’s lust for shiny objects. The wish that birds could talk, that trees could share their secrets.
My walks to and from school took me through an urban forest ruled by squirrels and cardinals, where oaks and maples crowded in on the houses, weeds invaded the alleys, and blades of grass muscled through sidewalk cracks. I often paused to marvel over shapes and patterns in nature—seed pods, icicles, tree bark.
Both as an artist and as someone who lectures on art history for popular audiences, I constantly seek inspiration from humankind's 30,000+ years of creative expression. I find myself entranced by the abstract "meanders" on Paleolithic cave walls and captivated by Pueblo pottery and other traditional designs. I revel in the playful shape consciousness of early 20th-century experimenters such as Hilma af Klint, Sophie Tauber-Arp, and Paul Klee, as well as the opulent freehand embellishments of Minnie Evans, Anna Zemánková, and other self-taught visionaries from around the world.
In times of discouragement, I reflect on the moment in art history when Lee Krasner began tearing apart and recombining the paintings from her unsuccessful 1951 New York gallery show. While her husband, Jackson Pollock, was off drinking and courting death, Krasner achieved rebirth through the medium of collage.
I myself come from a family prone to suffer from clinical depression, going back generations on both my mother's and my father's side. For that reason, I never take well-being for granted, and I pursue my art, most centrally, as an ecstatic celebration of simply feeling OK. I hope that my artwork invites others to share in my delight in the artistic processes of attentive observation, reflection, and synthesis and that together we can generate some joyful energy to help us rise to some of the difficulties we face.