The “Threatened” series expresses my alarm about the global threat to our natural environment and human population. My mask assemblages broadcast the reckless attacks on protections that include land, water, air, and all living things. The folkloric style bows to tribal and prehistoric arts with their messages of survival and clarity of purpose. The impending scenario of massive devastation has produced a heightened response in me; the subject matter is an emergency. My colorful, often humorous, visages invite the observer in, makes them pause and appreciate both the grandeur and fragility of nature. With the escalation of world tragedies, my works are evolving in complexity.
I had begun working on masks when on October 9, 2017, we were ordered to evacuate our Santa Rosa home because of wildfires rapidly sweeping across Northern California. While waiting to hear if our home survived, my husband Ken and I walked along a wildlife trail on the first clear 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, I walked familiar paths and beaches to continue to work in this spontaneous way—inviting nature to present anthropomorphic images to me. The masks “Fire & Fury” and “Scorched Earth” were the direct outcome of the fire experience. I roamed burn sites to see and smell the ash. I needed to witness and record on camera the ghost-like images as evidence of the once normal lives there.
The doomsday scenario visualized in “Scorched Earth” employs baskets and kitchen tools to emphasize the human, domestic toll of wildfires. Hydra (mythological beast with many heads) is the monstrous Global Warming unleashed. “Child’s Play” is my response to the Parkland shooting and the alarming fact that in the United States, 1300 children under age 18 die from bullets each year. Kids playing with 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 masks are roughly human head size, created mainly from recycled materials and painted. I thrive on making art that transcends the cast-offs from thrift stores and detritus found in nature. 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.