My work explores feminist and socio-political themes using mixed media, including photography, sculpture, audio, drawing, print and embroidery. Spanish-speaking with a large Mexican family through marriage, my interests in Latino culture include NAFTA, labour/production, migration, borders, social justice and violence against of women. Various strategies such as metaphor, mythology, tactility, humour and stories are combined to evoke a sensory, kinesthetic viewer response; my early training in print media continues to influence processes in my installation works. A parallel practice in print media, drawing, and collage is crucial to my process.
Childhood in small town Indiana afforded the freedom to explore adjacent fields and forests, supporting an early affinity and appreciation of Nature which continues to be apparent in my work. Trees, for example, have appeared as elements in The Cherry Tree Project, SCAR, Bar-Ba-Loot, Learning to Draw, and an ongoing photographic series. Water has been a thematic beginning with an early series of Water Drawings and related lithographic prints, followed by Learning From Salmon, Water to Air and Adrift.
Architecture and literature are also influential to my work. Walls are a recurring theme, beginning with The Cherry Tree Project (1987), a collaboration based on Japanese blossom viewing rituals that traversed three private gardens to explore boundaries of public/private space and community. Other works incorporating walls are: Adrift (1999), which used a vellum ‘wall’ to comment on chronic invisible illness, military/medical language, societal attitudes, Tortilla Wall, a work in progress documenting the wall at the Mexican-US border, and Frontera/Border, a “wall” of orchard netting hung with thousands of ribbons, part of Grapes and Tortillas. New work critiques Trump’s border wall initiative.
Collaborative projects are of increasing interest. Beginning with Las Desaparicidas/Missing, working with villagers in the town of Tapalpa, Jalisco, Mexico, other collaborations have followed. Working with stories has become important to my work, starting with Bluebird, a collection of stories on sewing, followed by Tela de Vidas/Fabric of Lives, Northern Howl and Grapes and Tortillas. I find that the everyday stories of ordinary people have great power to open minds and hearts.