Gallery talk at George Marshall Store Gallery

Posted on July 24th, 2013

“All the life of the planet is interrelated… each species has its own ties to others, and all are related to the earth.” – Rachel Carson

My goal as an artist is to reveal the deep ecology of being. “Being IS relation,” the philosopher Jonathan Edwards said. If I am in relation, or “interrelated” as Rachel Carson maintains, this implies a moral responsibility. I made my nest and egg installation with this in mind: to teach a new generation about Rachel Carson’s message: to bring alive to them what she was saying 50 years ago. Silent Spring brought to light the far- reaching adverse effects of indiscriminate spraying of DDT after the war. DDT is a toxic to humans and animals. It particularly affects apex species (on the top of the food chain) like eagles. I had the idea to build a double size eagle’s nest on the quad in collaboration with students at Chatham University. We made an 8′ wide nest and egg installation, and Raku fired eggs that would open to reveal facts about DDT and messages from Rachel Carson. These were later hidden on campus, and students found them and reflected in blogs about the relevance of the messages for today. (Those same messages are printed around the base of the indoor nest I built for this Maine show.) I had students gather dead wood, as eagles do, to construct the nest. In addition, I had Maine biologist, Bucky Owen, tell the story of the rebound of Maine’s bald eagles after the ban on DDT in 1972. In my lifetime, we have pushed eagles very close to extinction and, through our moral actions, brought them back. Young students need to hear that we can make a difference. One student remarked, “fracking (big in western PA) is the new DDT.”

I Am A Material Girl.

The materials I use in my art making are various and eclectic. Artists work with stuff. It’s the physical that we must use to reveal the intangibles. For me, the physical materials are paper, gesso, shellac, oil-based etching ink, water-based and oil paint, clay, Mylar, found objects, natural matter like twigs, branches, and stones, vegetable scraps, tea leaves and raffia. My process begins with collage, building plates from recycled matt board that will be used to layer images on paper in a printmaking process called collagraph. These may be rectilinear plates or free-form plates in the form of starfish, birds, turtles–whatever I want to inhabit the monoprint, ( see “Medusa/ Starfish” series and “Monhegan Migration”series) These are made of paper & gesso, marked on both sides, so they can be printed many times, creating ghosts and layers. Layering is important to me; just like the layering of organic matter that produces compost, layers of meaning, perception and time can be built up through this unique printmaking process. “Compost Nation”, (a detail of which is above), is an example: made from vegetable peelings and tea leaves, collected over many days. it has its own motto: “One nation, biodegradable, with liberty and humus for all.”

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