Go into yourself. Search for the reason that bids you write; find out whether it is spreading out its roots in the deepest places of your heart, acknowledge to yourself whether you would die if it were denied you to write. Must you write? If the answer is ‘I must,’ then build your life according to this necessity.
Ranier Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet
My life revolves around this understanding. I must. When I am out of touch with my creative self, I feel incomplete. My work is the way I dig beneath the surface of what I comprehend and go deeper into the unknown. I continually seek ways to present the surface of illusion and the essence of reality. I begin with a portrait that is intended to suggest the universal soul, the human continuum throughout time, rather than the individual characteristics of the person who models for me.
Usually I take a photograph not knowing exactly what it will become. In the series Julia’s Spiral Braid, I photographed my granddaughter from the back because of her beautiful braid. The spiral suggests our journey through the labyrinth of life. Each print became another world for Julia to explore, some are magical as in Butterflies at Midnight, others frightening, as in Flames, where the world seems to be on fire.
For many years I have been fascinated with the work of Sir James Frazer, author of The Golden Bough; Joseph Campbell’s many books on world mythology; and with Carl Jung and his philosophy of the collective unconscious. Through myth and dreams, we connect with the universal.
Fifteen years ago I began to learn the language of Tarot cards. Jung considered the twenty-two Major Arcana or Trump cards representative of the archetypal path to individuation. My allegorical portraits for the major cards, printed as Polaroid transfers, suggest our collective journey toward enlightenment.
The concept of elusive realities is consistent throughout my work. I have explored it with many photographic processes including color prints, toned black and white photographs, photograms, and mixed media. In a new series, Mosaics, now in progress, I combine negative and positive images, color and black-and-white, and paint and collage in grid-like structures and small books. I began this work in 2000 while teaching for five months in Florence, Italy. The influence of Medieval and Renaissance spiritual art informs my new images that relate to the past and present, memory, and the essence of my experiences in the many countries I have visited.
I am a seeker, a traveler to inner and outer spaces. I revel in soaking up the smells, textures, color, light, art, history, and mystery of the world. I make images to both articulate and transform these experiences. I make images because they are my reason to be, because I must.