Darkness Creates Lightness
This piece belongs to a suite of textile and wood panel collages addressing the themes of death and new beginnings. The works were developed during an artist residency in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, prior to the Day of the Dead in 2016.
Earlier that year I had lost my father to cancer, and this had opened my heart to the importance of creating space to grieve. I began to understand mourning as the act of naming and honoring what a loved one meant to me. Experiencing the death of someone as close to me as my father allowed me to embrace the full range of human emotions, including the dark ones. I fell apart with the grief, but I also felt a tremendous urge to experience joy in my art and to make my practice more meaningful and fulfilling. The art in this series explored the full gamut of human experiences - death, love, loss, pain, joy, and pleasure. I was able to create a space where great pleasure and extreme sadness could be interconnected. Death became an opportunity to transform myself by being in a space of contemplation and mourning.
This body of work consisted of entirely new artistic practices that evolved from failure and experimentation. The textile collages in particular happened accidentally. The style I was most using at the time consisted of collages made from monotyped sheets of paper, so I carried this practice over to fabrics. The fabric collages in this series celebrated the domestic, what is often relegated as “women’s work.” The pieces incorporated sewing, quilting, and hand dying, as well as printmaking elements, such as linoleum block.
Being in Mexico and working closely with the American artist, Anado McLauchlin, was a tremendous opportunity to learn and grow as an artist. Anado gave me space in his studio to play, relax, and slow down. It was so rewarding to be able to observe his process – he’s very open and not at all stingy about what he knows.