I make art objects; beautiful and engaging objects that emerge from fragments and tempt your eye again and again.
What attracts and sustains our attention? That question inspires my artwork today and initially propelled my career as a speech pathologist. I’ve found my aesthetic response in richly colored glass mosaics–placed in settings of matte grout and painted canvas–that direct our focus through line and form. These works entice us. They shift before our eyes, interacting with light and our own perspective. They give us a look at a moment soon gone, yet filled with radiance.
Many of the forms in my mosaics are rooted in the landscape of my hometown in Alberta, Canada, a place of austere beauty. The sinuous oxbow curve of the Vermilion River is a central form for me, symbolizing how microscopic changes can bring about profound transformation over time. Glimpses of beauty on the prairies are singular, startling and hard-won–hoarfrost that limns every tree branch with glittering ice crystals, tiny buttercups that dot the grasslands in early June, farmland seeded in tessellated rows. That same rarity and contrast exists in Chicago’s urban landscape. I notice the hue of crushed red berries covering a damp sidewalk, the dried, bristly heads of flowers once surrounded by vibrantly colored petals, the patterns in crumbling concrete and rusting metal.
My work requires piece-by-piece cutting to build a whole. As I cut, I find new solutions for pattern and composition. Setting glass mosaics in industrial materials such as cement board, metal and grout creates tension between light and dark, brilliance and opacity, vibrancy and restraint, that compels us to look.
The ancient art of mosaic virtually transcends time. While touring Europe in the 1990s I encountered the mosaics in Florence, Ravenna and Venice that were made as early as the 5th century. Witnessing these still-vibrant artworks came as an epiphany. They gave me a new visual language to express my interest in creating a narrative based on the accumulation of minute details.
Water Street Gallery
98 Center Street
Douglas, MI 49406