Waiting, detail, 2016

“Run to the Woods” at Hall Barnett Gallery in New Orleans

In the summer of 2016, I had the good fortune to escape the sultry August heat of Mississippi and travel to the Archie Bray Foundation for study with Cristina Cordova.  I’ve admired Cristina’s work for as long as I can remember, and..wow!..why did I not do this before?!   Her guidance and technique influenced my work in exactly the way I had hoped, as I was really longing to push the medium a step further anatomically. After a fun two weeks in Montana, I jumped back into the studio, taught a workshop to share what I’d learned from Cristina, and started preparations for a December show at Hall Barnett Gallery in New Orleans.  It was a tight, but necessary, timeline to reflect on new thoughts and working techniques.

The resulting work is a mixture of my usual, loose way of working- that is, finding narrative in the nuances and variations of the clay- and a new refinement involving a measuring tape hanging around my neck at all times.  I still work with slabs and pushing from the inside out, but now I’m much more comfortable with adding clay to the form and working out details like facial features….the eyes, in particular.

Content for this show and all current work is focused on ideas of vulnerability and imperfection.  I’ve always made figures that are incomplete in form, with mismatched limbs and hands and ears and such.  I really can’t conceive of trying to create a perfect, polished figure- the idea of which is frankly quite boring and unappealing to me on so many levels.  In sculpture, as in life, I am drawn to the imperfect..to the broken and worn and repaired. Missing limbs in this sculpture have nothing to do with a handicap (people have asked this question), but rather allude to beauty and strength in imperfection- solidarity and stability in a cracked, imperfect state of being.  I continue to use the butterfly as a symbol of perseverance, strength, and beauty. My dog Puff is represented in almost every sculpture, representing love and loyalty, and I have begun to incorporate cast glass.

Run to the Woods is up through January and also features the stellar paintings of Paton Miller of South Hampton, NY and the lovely mixed media sculptures of Birmingham, AL based Merrilee Challiss.