ABOUT THE “NEST” SERIES
As I have grown in my art practice, I have wanted to explore two ideas that characterize an artist's work—accident and hand. Most artists realize after working for awhile that there are “happy” accidents. They also learn that their “hand” is what characterizes their work—what distinguishes their work from that of other artists.
I found that the best way to investigate these ideas was to play with materials, which gave me great joy with their unpredictability and challenge. At first I worked on paper, and I loved it and exploited aspects of it which most watercolorists would try to control or avoid, such as its tendency to buckle in response to the dampness of paint washes. Then I discovered Mylar, where I had even less control, and thus many more happy accidents. I began deliberately encouraging these.
I dropped “puddles” in a range of sizes and shapes (using a mix of ink, liquid acrylic paint, and water) onto the Mylar, and waited to see what would happen once they dried. The type of surface, the evenness and levelness of the table that I worked on, the humidity of the room, the type of brush: all these made a difference in the result. As the mixture dried, edges emerged both on the periphery and in the interior of each form, suggesting ridges, pools, or strata. Remarkably, as in nature, each form—like a leaf, for example—was the same as and yet unique among its siblings. Each element meticulously reflected its particular set of circumstances.
I've been exploring work on Mylar ever since. Often I cut out the forms that result from the dried puddles, and use them in assemblage and collage (as with “Nest”, shown here). Recently I've painted (conventionally) on Mylar and have also begun to use similar mixes of ink and acrylic on surfaces such as board and canvas, combining these with cut pieces of Mylar used as collage. “Nest” is pure bas-relief assemblage, put together using hundreds of cut Mylar pieces. People see many natural forms suggested by its imagery: geodes, nests, volcanoes, tree rings, coral.
About Nest III
The pieces that make up this work were made by dropping puddles of ink and acrylic paint onto Dura-Lar, a plastic which is similar to Mylar. I leave the puddles to dry, usually overnight, then I cut them out with scissors and assemble them.
I make works such as this one in a range of colors and sizes. Some are large enough to fill a wall; some are delicate enough to suspend with a string or piece of fishing line. Here the pieces are attached to a support that can be hung on the wall as if it were a painting. But of course, some of the pieces have escaped.
Why did I give this name to this work? I think of the heart as a nest of blood, a place where drops accumulate like the straw and twigs birds use to build their nests. Each drop is unique, and cumulatively they hold the essence of something larger.