My work has always been about identity, which I see as formed by genetics, place and language. I have worked primarily in encaustic and acrylic for the past twenty years. In 2020, my work changed dramatically. The Covid 19 pandemic forced me to narrow my focus to the language aspect of identity. The lockdown created and unexpected opportunity to learn a new medium: cold wax medium and oil.
As Covid 19 swept across the world, artists everywhere sheltered in their studios, responding to the pandemic and subsequent quarantines with new work. Pots from my collection of Southwestern pottery became a metaphor for terms popularized by the pandemic: chaos, isolation, social distancing, escape, quarantine, ventilator, and more recently, hope. The new work was primarily acrylic on panel. With sponsorship by the Encaustic Art Institute, I entered this body of work in an online collaborative exhibition with my husband, “Two Worlds.” Much of the work sold and I learned that marketing online was actually a viable way to sell artwork.
Next, I began exploring the oil and cold wax medium. I enrolled in Pamela Caughey’s online “Powerful Design and Personal Color” course, learning how to use the medium and how to move towards more freedom and abstraction in my work. As a follow-up to the course, I enrolled in her “Watch, Learn and Grow Master Class” Facebook, enabling me to access the wonderful video library she is compiling and participate in monthly critiques of members’ works.
Returning to my academic roots of English literature and Art History, I began a new series called “Narratives.” The broad nature of the topic enabled me to continue exploring language as a primary determinant of identity. The first works in this new series—exhibited here at the NM Cancer Center—categorize the forms narratives take: poems (Haiku, Ode), short stories, science fiction, journals and diaries. I also explored types of writing: stream of consciousness, biography, history. I was able to include many of the symbols I like to incorporate in my work: ancient alphabets (linear B, Mayan, Ugaritic, Proto Sinaitic), alchemy symbols, abstract letters, asemic writing.
For “The Art of Quarantine” exhibition, I also created ten small, affordable cold wax and oil paintings. They are an abstract mini series “Checkerboard.” Their unifying element is the area of dark and light checkerboard each incorporates.