This Artist Statement was prepared for the Theory Loves Practice exhibition at the Center for Visual Arts, Metropolitan State University of Denver.
Forage is a piece rooted in research and inquiry where academia and art intertwine. I think about my art in the form of architectural textiles that incorporate juxtapositions: ephemeral fabric and discarded objects, translucency and opaqueness, the refined and unrefined. Patterns created by light and shadow come alive within these opposites. As Louis Kahn once said “The nature of space reflects what it wants to be.” For a moment, a viewer slows down, observes, and contemplates the calming rhythm found in the breadth and depth of my work.
A 20 year investigation into lace culminates in a growing series of felted drawings that are everything lace is not. While beautiful in their own way, they are raw, crude and rough - simultaneously familiar and unfamiliar. According to the Oxford Dictionary, research is the “systematic investigation into and study of materials and sources in order to establish facts and reach new conclusions.” Based on historical lace patterns, this work reaches new conclusions while creating more essential questions. As Bruce Mau once said, “Now that we can do anything - what will we do?” Will inspiration come from the breadth of an experience or the depth of its investigation?
I have been in Art Education for over 20 years, including my recent challenge preparing Teacher Candidates to face the 21st century educational system. In our Art Education Programs, young students are crammed with information in hopes that they will survive that first day of school with 30+ eager rowdy first graders. At this point I question which is more important - the breadth of their knowledge or depth of their preparatory experiences? We can ask them to thoroughly read textbooks and sit through endless lectures; however, this academic knowledge should be accompanied equally by hands-on experiences. Tony Wagner believes that because knowledge is so accessible, “what you know matters far less than what you can do with what you know.” What will the next generation of art teachers do with what they know?