Memory and wax became central to my work after I discovered a fallen beehive in our backyard in Arroyo Grande, California. Observing the generations inhabiting this enormous dynasty, my view of the pervasiveness of memory within the cycle of life was heightened.
Born in a small rural town of Colorado, I heard rumors of our family’s Indian heritage. Over time, I collected names, dates, myths, stories, and DNA, which confirmed the stories and led to other discoveries, including a Semetic thread of my heritage. As a natural progression, I set out to retrace my ancestors’ steps in the still, yet intensely active, raw beauty of New Mexico. I was profoundly moved. It was when invited to Jentel Residency in Banner, Wyoming, that these experiences found an expression through drawings, sculptures, and installations.
Contributing to my practice are academic studies regarding the illusive characteristics of memory. Kabala, Jewish Mysticism, is also a vital influence. The expression of “Black Fire on White Fire” refers to the Hebrew Scriptures. The characters that form letters, and ultimately a meaning, are likened to fire—Black Fire—while the blank spaces are White Fire, also relaying a meaning. Both carry equal value and significance, together creating a full understanding of the concept. We are each made up of that Black Fire and White Fire—our seen selves alongside the unseen and unknown that makes us who we are.
As the substances that created my antecedents pulsed through me (unseen forces and memories), melding with my voice and personhood, the dialogue presented through my paintings is between the materials and myself. Using cold wax and oil, the images reflect memories of time, energy, life, passage—known, unknown, seen and unseen.