I love experiments and surprises and thrive on these in my artistic practice. I use unframed raw canvas, taffeta, and satin to create large mixed media landscapes. I layer highly-pigmented color “soups” on the fabric and trace cast shadows from my immediate natural and built environment. Back in the studio, I dress these figures in solid, quiet colors. The figures’ demure sobriety clashes with the background’s commotion. I then attack the surfaces with a variety of tools and materials to arrive at a multi-layer playground for the eye. My final work bears witness to the many steps in its creation because of my experimentation: creases made by the seller when preparing the fabric for shipment, wrinkles in the fabric due to excessive layering of fluid paints, and of course, the wear and tear from throwing, pulling, transporting, and hanging of the strips of material on the wall. In some works, my footsteps have also been immortalized as I moved (or jumped!) about the drying surfaces on the studio floor. All these surprise elements, these ‘casualties of war’, are to be understood as an indispensable part of each work, rather than a detraction. They testify to the intricacy of my process, my intense communion with fabric and paint, and my existence.
At Lakeside Lab, experiments happen everywhere. Surprises too. The faculty and students spend their days learning on the ground, letting their experiences in nature frame their relationship to the environment. As an artist, I was invited by the Diatom and the Ornithology class to join a variety of fieldtrips and exploratory activities. Let me tell you, was I surprised. Here is a list of my top exciting discoveries:
PS: My gratitude goes out to Professor Neil Berstein (Ornithology) and Professor Mark Edlund (Diatoms) for welcoming me with such patience and kindness into their classrooms. If I’d had science professors as caring and encouraging as them, I probably would be a scientist today. Thanks for making your classrooms a safe and positive space for all students regardless of gender and race. Thanks also to Prof. Dr. Brent Mortensen (Ecology) who invited me to his class as well. Unfortunately, I was unable to join his lovely group of students on the field.