A Measure of Life, 2021

On one of my first walks around the neighborhood within the first couple of weeks that I was living in North Adams, MA, I took this picture. I was looking up the trunk of a fruit tree which had not yet blossomed. I printed the photograph and tacked it to my studio wall where I hang images that are interesting to me. The silhouetted forms outlined in the picture were bold and stark and invited understanding. I waited for months before I even approached trying to elevate the blatant linearity and the exquisite balance elicited within the natural forms to a piece of art.

One day, I rolled out a huge piece of paper onto a wall in the studio. I left it blank for weeks. And then one day, I took a medium width marker and just started sweeping it across the page in the rhythm of the predominant curve in the photo and I kept going until I had completed the drawing of what was in the picture. The image did not fit the size of the paper so I had to imagine how to complete the border that remained.

I used the outline of the template I had made from the drawing of the dead branch to fill the width of the outside margin beyond the large drawing. When I realized that was not enough to satisfy me, I stopped for working on the piece for awhile.

One Sunday afternoon, I was lying on my floor listening to music beneath the spider plant hanging from the trim of the window nearby. When I looked up, I could see the answer for how I could would complete the emptiness of the margins. I would draw baby spider plants growing off the unfinished sections of the main tree drawing. (Details One and Two below.)

The bottom section of the unfinished part of the tree drawing still begged for some other imagery.

The first ever outdoor show called Groundwork at the Clark Art Institute was open and I finally went to see it. On the hike around the exhibit near the trails that extend beyond the museum, I took the next picture.

This photo became fodder for how I would draw the bottom section of the tree drawing. (Detail Three.)

All the visual information I had collected from my new living environment had contributed to a major drawing, the one shown below.

A Measure of Life, 2021, 60 in h x 88.75 in w, ink and marker on rag paper, titled and signed on verso
A Measure of Life, 2021, Detail One
A Measure of Life, 2021, Detail Two
A Measure of Life, 2021, Detail Three

Virtual Drawing, 2021

Carole Kim and I met in 2011 at the premiere of Wadada Leo Smith’s Ten Freedom Summers at the RedCat Theater in Los Angeles, CA. She participated in the performance by contributing to the video presentation on the huge screens behind the stage where the musicians played.

Her work has always attracted me because she deals in the interaction of layers. In my own drawings, I think in terms of layers and outgrowths. In static drawing, in which I participate, I cannot create, motion and change and depth except in the act of drawing that becomes frozen and, in essence, unchangeable. Only in the viewing does the potential for an image’s morphing in the mind’s eye exist.

This video realizes a dream that I have had about how my drawings can be. Without Carole, I would never have been able to achieve that dream.

Corners Series, 2008

The concept of these drawings germinates once again in minimalism, the non-objective, and self-referentiality.

Self-referentiality was and is, for me, a mainstay in an artist’s orientation in approaching any work at all. Configuring it is a means to appreciate the process as it goes forth and increase the artist’s mindfulness of the direction of the process.

Each drawing is colored pencil on black gouache. Each measures 30 inches in height by 44 inches in width.

Corners, blue, gray, brown
Corners gray, purple, orange, green
Corners green, purple, brown
Corners slate blue and gray

Prepositional Drawings, 2008

These drawings are all white marker on black gouache on white rag paper. They measure 30 inches in height by 44.5 inches in width.

Even though Open and Closed are included in this series, the titles evoke a spare direction that is nearly prepositional.

True to form, this series deals with the minimalism and directness inherent in my “training” as an artist. I had to learn to see before I could really SEE.

Across
Closed
Down
In
Open
Out
Up

Three Geometric Drawings, 2002

These are in a Private Collection in Charleston, SC. They are 22.25 inches square approximately and are charcoal pencil on rag paper.

They are a portrait of my divorce. The divorce not only involved my husband and me, but also, more importantly, my son.

Approach
Confrontation
Settlement

Coming Alive Again, 2004

These six drawings were a valiant effort to open up the thrill of creation. The wood template was still in use but beautifully, as if really alive and flexible. They are all mixed media on paper, sixty inches tall and are in two parts which make the width forty-five inches. Visually, they have a connection to the symmetry of the body, in the same way at the last of the series Traveling With Angels did and the entire series of Unknowing Innocence demonstrated.

#1
#2
#3
#4
#5
#6

Branch Shadows 1-8, 2021

These black and white drawings are seminal to becoming settled in my new studio.

The branch from the dead tree outside the back door of my new abode was going to be thrown away. The person who sold me my living and working space was aware of my work; he held it up one day and asked me if I wanted it; I said, yes. And I drew a picture of the branch. It was the beginning shape to my new vocabulary.

Four Panels, Mountain and Branches, 2021

These panels reflect my new environment. The mountain “lines” represent the Berkshires in MA. And the branches images come from a template I made of a drawing I did of a branch broken off a dead tree/bush once planted outside my door.

The incorporation of the drawings into the panel format demonstrates the influence of Japanese panel paintings from the turn of the 20th century.

Four Panels, Mountains and Branches 1-4, 2021, 60 inch high by total 91.75 inches width, colored pencil on black rag paper
Mountain and Branches 1, 2021
Mountain and Branches 2, 2021
Mountain and Branches 3, 2021
Mountain and Branches 4, 2021
Mountain and Branches, 2021, detail 2
Mountain and Branches, 2021, detail 1

Installation, 1981

This installation image showing velvet going horizontally and lanyard vertically occurred at Berkshire Community College in Pittsfield, MA, in a Faculty Show.

This is also the only time it has been created and was a combination of the materials I had been working with since I went to CalArts and later used in my exhibits at Claire S. Copley Gallery and San Jose State University in the mid-seventies.

The velvet is far more expressively handled because it is soft and pliable and represents, in essence, my femininity.

The dimensions of the BCC installation are seventy inches high by sixty-six inches width and probably six inches at its deepest point, where the velvet was bent out into space in a curve shape.

Pushpins hold the elements to the wall.

And it is based on the principles of the lanyard piece originally created in the corner of Gallery A-102 at CalArts, whereby the vertical length plus the molding equals my height in inches and the horizontal length is equals sixty-six inches, the width of my arm span.

Installation, lanyard and pushpins, each side 70″ h by 66″ w, 1970

Beginning Painting, 2007

There is never enough “beginning.” I was desperately seeking a means to dissolve the edges of the geometric templates at this time.

As with any language, the characters are difficult to re-work, re-make into new means of communicating.

Each part is sixteen inches square. The paintings are done with acrylic with some grease pencil enhancement.