The “Threatened” series represents the global threat to our natural environment and human population. The mask assemblages express alarm at our present administration’s reckless attack on protections that include land, water, air, and all living things. Science deniers recklessly make and implement government policy despite Mother Nature’s warnings with record-breaking rising temperatures, hurricanes, and wildfires. And as if that weren’t enough poachers continue to target wild game for their ivory and fur.
I was working on the mask “Bye Bye Beez” when we were ordered to evacuate our home in Santa Rosa because of the wildfires rapidly sweeping across Northern California on October 9, 2017. While waiting to learn if our home would survive, my husband Ken and I walked along a wildlife trail in San Rafael, California on a sunny, non-smoky day. I was compelled to make visages with the natural materials at hand. It was freeing to work in this temporal manner…to let the winds and the weather alter my art after I left. I needed to divest myself of attachment to tangible things. The only records of this site art are the photos I took. When we returned safely to our home, I walked familiar paths and beaches to continue to work in this spontaneous way—inviting nature to present anthropomorphic images to me. Before I created the masks “Inferno” and “Scorched Earth”, I was compelled to roam acres of burn sites to see and smell the ash. I need to be a witness and record on camera the ghost-like images as evidence of the once normal lives there.
This impending scenario of massive devastation has produced a heightened response in me. I have become a guerilla artist and the subject matter is an emergency. My fanciful…often wacky visages invite the observer in, makes them pause and appreciate both the grandeur and fragility of nature. The doomsday scenario visualized in “Scorched Earth” employs baskets and kitchen tools to emphasize the human, domestic toll of wildfires.
My art continues to be influenced by the scorched earth policies of our present government. “Child’s Play” expresses the alarming fact that in the United States, 1300 children under age 18 die from bullets each year. Kids playingwith guns, accounts for an overwhelming number of unintentional firearm deaths of children. Some of the 270 child shooters were curious toddlers with access to guns in the home.
The constructed masks are created mainly from recycled materials and acrylic paint. They are roughly human head size. The on-site art is assembled from nearby natural detritus. The photo records are printed from a high-quality desktop printer using archival paper and ink.