A Collaboration with Insects, 2009
These objects explore the integrations, interruptions, and involvements of humans with nature-we tend to forget that we are nature.
The organisms I have been cultivating intimate relationship with are silkworms, hornworms, waxworms, dermestid, larvae and beetles. The insects participate with their naturally present behaviors – their habits, life cycles. Organic materials are provided for the insects to live and work in, which are then removed and responded to.
The collaboratively made sculptures require reverence and patience for the insects’ ways of being and exist to bring awareness to the phenomenal potential that arises when we see all of creation as one.
The Spell of the Sensual, 2010
This small series from a Fellowship at The Mildred Lane Complex(ity) focuses on the small moments that bring about the pleasure we’re all designed to thrive on. It’s a practice, allowing the body to expand its’ capacity to actually experience all the beauty of the world. Pleasure comes not from leaving reality, but from leaning further into it through the gateway of the senses.
International Travel Selections 2008-2013
International Travel Selections 2014-2018
International Travel Selections 2016-2018
Micronesian Vision Quest, 2016-2018
When living in The Federated States of Micronesia as a Peace Corps Volunteer (2016-2018), I had limited materials to continue my art practice as it was familiar t me. While I continued to take photos, I spent more time weaving palm fronds and drawing to communicate, rather than creating conceptual sculptures and painting. The times when I was able to travel off island, I collected books and magazines to cut up and piece together later. Sometimes the kids would join in, fascinated by images of ladies in short skirts, and the endless snack food advertisements. The process of cutting and reframing images supported this epic transformational journey through some real darkness and into the light. These are proof of a modern day vision quest.
Baltimore Sound sHEALds, 2019
This series of mixed media works was made in response to my recent return to the city of Baltimore. Listening to Baltimore playlist, was a way to transition, and inspire these paintings on a vibrational level. The tracks selected are amplified through a speaker, with paper placed on top, marker hovering. When the music plays, the speaker sends vibrations that cause the marker to move and create a poetic line quality, locking the musical message in the lines. These raw and primary line drawings and the act of repetitive listening, inspire the rest of the soundscape to emotionally emerge. The act is a musical tribute to the Sanskrit concept of mantra, meaning a tool that protects the mind; and yantra, a sacred expression of the musical information, visually captured. We’ve all experienced the catharsis of music, its power to nurture, cleanse and protect.
The Five Elements of Healing, 2020
Earth: Bones, horse hair, buckskin, pig intestine, and quartz refer back to a childhood of being asked to eat factory farmed and processed beings as part of a an expected normalized societal practice. At a young age, came realization. Plants teach introspections – to explore fresh ideas and to obtain a yield from less violent and sustainable sources.
Air: Thinking that we are thinking for ourselves, manifests as typical rebellion - years of smoking – until the wiser plants, Mullein, Skullcap and St. John’s Wort convinced otherwise. An ancient Japanese legend claims that folding 1000 paper cranes grants a wish – for the work, aids in healing. There are 100 hanging here.
Water: Spirits are raised by a deep desire to emotionally regulate. In effort to freeze burning intensities or to melt absolute numbness - drinking to catch the present, perpetually arriving. Tantra suggests that the more subtle a practice, the more powerful, like meditation and a shot of serenity.
Fire: Let there be light, as the great primordial sound expands creation – manifest universe - all of it. The Sanskrit Prise Mantra, Om Aim Hrim Klim Chamundaye Vicce Svaha invokes different forms of the divine feminine, specifically Kali, asking for the dissolution of obstructions. A dull blade can only discern vague ashy lines, while the Goddess’s sword, purified by flames is the souvenir of light that comes from the excavation in the dark.
Ether: Maya, Sanskrit for the great illusion, the deceit. Looking in the mirror, consciousness is entrapped in the physical and mental unreality of the everyday. Everything we do matters, yet nothing matters at all. Beyond the infinite illusion, lies the eternal. The truth found in the paradoxes.
A Collaboration with the Land, 2020-ongoing
The quarantines and lockdowns in the Age of Coronavirus have grounded many of us in one city, in local green spaces, on small squares of land. In part, this has been such an invitation to slow down and cultivate our relationships with this seemingly limited expanse of earth. For the past year, I have remained around Baltimore, Maryland, treading on the same soils, admiring plant allies, old and new, eating with the seasons - without crossing country borders. My roots, burrowed deep in the dirt of American East Coast have called me back, and I’m listening. The teacher of my childhood is o be found in the depths of the forests and on the sun-streaked shores. With much of my time passed in observation, and permissive collecting – I make – in effort to share this magic brought back from the profundity of the humble wood.
In asking my friends to creatively express their own current relationships with the land they are locked upon, I’ve been able to blur lines of solitude and discontentment with lines of connection and grace for each other and our soils of support. Each participant has generously accessed their inner artist and has produced and artwork in response to an inquiry about their connection to the land they reside on at this time. With this work as inspiration, I respond in visual conversation, creating a piece about my own relationship with the land. The works are shown together, as one would not exist without the other.
Ancestral Altars, 2021
Ancestor worship is prominent across spiritual practices. These circular altars are portals into divine remembrance for each of my grandparents, The Sheppards and The Greens. The material collages were very much inspired by Amanda Palmer’s song, The Thing About Things, especially the words “The thing about things is they can start meaning things nobody actually said – and f you’re not allowed to love people alive, then you learn how to love people dead.”
Vaistu Antklode (Remedy Quilt), 2021
Exploration into and exposure to eastern cultures and an attended study of Yoga and Ayurveda has been my invitation to rise from spiritual slumber and has very much been the catalyst for curiosity. As continue to follow the meandering contemplative waters, the crossover of cultural legends and philosophies become more evident. Further evidence that we are the one, manifested as the many, in a diversity of forms, sewing the same cloth. I find that I am increasingly interested in stories of my own lineage, and the idea that my being is more readily attuned to receive medicines of all kinds, that were embraced as healing mechanisms by my ancestors. I am applying the Ayurvedic energetic methods of working with plants and herbs to the species of my own past and current ethnobotanical regions, Europe (Lithuaia) The United States (mid-Atlantic) more so than the Materia Medica of India. The textile is composed of oak dyed and printed muslin, buckskin, wool, Ganoderma lucidum (reishi), Trametes versicolor (turkey tail) mushrooms, Achillea millefolium (yarrow), Juniperus (juniper), local honey and honeycomb, raw Baltic Amber, the widespread evil eye talisman (pikta akis), and herbal tea bags enjoyed in conversation with friends – elements effective in traditional and holistic medicine.
Circles of the Seasons, 2021
With an interest in cyclical living and earth traditions, over this year, I am making art alongside the seasons. I am loosely following the Wheel of the Year of the Northern Hemisphere that various pagan cultures observe and celebrate. Some symbolism in the work will be recognizable from that, but decision throughout the making process are widely based on color, available seasonal materials, and the feeling of my own begin in a relationship to the current climate.