n. A very strong or irresistible impulse to travel.
The places I’ve lived, the time I was there, the people I was with and the things that we did set the stage for these pieces. And if they could talk…
To start, I collected some old frames. One ornate frame, with much of its gilding missing along the side, had an old photo of a baby that has long since grown up (later I chose this one to frame the place where I was born). All of the frames have seen better days but that was their appeal. After cleaning and reinforcing, I began stretching canvas to the frames and priming the surfaces.
But what to paint? Looking for inspiration, I found aerial views on the Internet of all the cities I’ve lived in. Using different degrees of zoom, I found my compositions and started laying on the paint. While painting each one, I remembered the space and the people that were around me then, collective memories and experiences, some holier than others. The paint goes from being very thick and layered in places, to areas that still show the underpainting. The paint was laid using brushes, palette knives and gravity. In some spots the paint has been scraped down to threadbare canvas. Not satisfied with just painted landscapes, I wanted to add another dimension. For this, I turned to my stockpile of fabric and the landscapes turned into backgrounds.
I’ve worked with fabrics since a house fire in ’94 destroyed my vintage wardrobe. I continue to collect pieces from friends and family in the form of treasured clothing. Here, I chose to use pieces of old prom dresses, a maternity dress and some of my childhood Barbie clothes, to name a few. I found interesting segments of the garments and cut out a spot, ripped off the inside seam and sheared the frayed edge of a hem. The fabrics were then chosen for their connection, both sentimentally and visually, to the background where they were being placed. I bundled the bits of fabric together and once I found a visual synergy between them and the painted background, I attached them. I like to think I’m actually painting with the fabrics while I sew them on with the needle and thread.
Although each place I’ve lived in has its own physical beauty, it’s the shared human experience that continues to give me the impulse to travel, not just the magnificence of the land. These 9 pieces tell tales of those memories, experiences and relationships I have accumulated along the way. I call them Wanderlust.