Literature, and its ability to transfix and transport, has served as the inspiration for my work for a number of years. A humble but passionate translator, I use books to create large and elaborate constructions, forms in which a viewer can get lost, as in a well-told tale.
I began by making small-scale pieces for the purpose of photographing them, the photo being the final ‘product’. Quickly I set aside the camera, however, and focused entirely on the making of the sculptures and installations themselves, wanting to see how they would morph – expand – without the resulting photo in mind. Along with this new focus came a new set of parameters designed to alleviate my guilt over ‘destroying’ books, objects I consider sacred…that the books must remain in their entirety, and readable, in the final pieces.
I achieve this in most of the pieces by cutting the book (two copies of the book, actually, in order to get both sides of each page, and therefore the text in its entirety) apart line by line – sometimes even word by word, letter by letter – and assembling the text with clear tape into a variety of configurations. The content of the texts is integral to the work, the stories within their pages informing and inspiring the shape each piece ultimately takes.
Many of the books I use in my work tell stories of obsession, or the obsessive pursuit – Moby Dick, The Odyssey and Lolita are prime examples. As I strive to keep the work within the strict parameters I’ve set for myself, and as the pieces become larger, more complex and time- and labor-intensive, obsession serves not only as the leitmotif, but as my own (for better or worse!) personal methodology as well. Should literature follow in the footsteps of music and film, with books going to the wayside like so many LP’s and VHS tapes, I make my contribution to their preservation with my archive of re-configured books. In my own obsessive fashion, I am building a unique ‘library’ comprised of classics and personal favorites – a large, idiosyncratic, readable-only-in-theory, and most unwieldy library to be sure!
I was born in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1967, but having spent about 22 years of my life off and on in the northeast, I’m something of a Bostonian at heart. I moved to Encinitas from Boston in 2003 and since then have met Xavier, my now husband, and we have made two beautiful babies together – Hugo, who is six, and Esmé, who is four.
I have done art in one form or another forever. As a kid I believed I would be a fashion designer and filled endless pages with drawings of shoes and dresses and the like. After high school, I studied fashion design for a year at the University of Cincinnati, but within just a year my mind was already on another track and I took time off to figure out just what that track was. I finally returned to college eight years later, this time studying photography. I received a B.F.A., graduating with honors, from the Massachusetts College of Art in Boston, Massachusetts in 1999.
My work has been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions in galleries and museums across the United States, including WorkSpace in New York City, The Copley Society of Art, The Photographic Resource Center and Forest Hills Trust in Boston, Massachusetts, Eric Phleger Gallery, the San Diego Art Institute and the Museum of Photographic Arts in San Diego, California, the Long Beach Museum of Art and the Torrance Art Museum. My work is also included in the esteemed Allan Chasanoff Bookworks Collection NYC, which was recently gifted to the Yale University Art Museum, and is referenced in the book A Companion to Herman Melville edited by Wyn Kelley, in the chapter entitled “Creating Icons: Melville in Visual Media and Popular Culture’, written by Elizabeth Schultz, as well as a book entitled ‘Four-Word Self-Help by Patti Digh and the Fall 2012 issue of Poetry Northwest magazine.
I’ve received a number of awards and honors, including a fellowship at the MacDowell Colony in Peterborough, New Hampshire (otherwise known as heaven), juror’s awards in numerous group exhibitions, a travel grant from the Massachusetts College of Art to create work in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and publication in the fall 2008 issue of Studio Visit Magazine, an ‘exhibition in print’ from the Open Studios Press (publishers of New American Paintings).