b. Washington, DC
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“One by one, million by million, in the prescience of dawn, every leaf in that part of the world was moved.” –James Agee
My work is informed by an interest in documentation of place, before our urban forests and old growth trees are lost to development. I have been painting in much the same vein since the early 1980s, when “urban growth” first threatened my home in the Poncey-Highland area. The Carter Center was then a field of kudzu and haven for homeless, the indigent and abandoned lots of old-growth trees. As in so many of Atlanta’s neglected neighborhoods, the trees and wildlife benefited.
David Abram suggests in his book, The Spell of the Sensuous, that “as the technology of writing…spreads through a previously oral culture, the felt power and personality of particular places begins to fade.” We can read these written stories anywhere, losing the original connection and primal energy to sites where they took place. I transpose a highly visceral involvement with nature into work that becomes a reminder of its importance in our everyday lives. How does place speak to us, and how do we communicate this deep and fragile bond?
Development has finally hit my neighborhood in full force, but I continue to be surprised that these paintings that evolved from an abrupt change in landscape are some of my strongest. There is humor and pathos imbued in some of the works; a particular Southern vernacular exists as a memento, overtly or subliminally, of how we relate to the natural world.
The light is for now, the one constant that I can depend on.
During my adult years I’ve lived in Canada (Nova Scotia, Toronto), Atlanta, San Francisco, the Midwest, southeastern Pennsylvania, and in 2010 returned to Atlanta. My work concentrates on the regions near my homes, and also includes paintings and sketches begun on vacations to rugged terrain like the mountains of British Columbia, the coast of Oregon and Vancouver Island.
I spent 26 years working in broadcast television at production/design houses, networks and startups as first a designer/animator and later, design director. I made a mid-career switch to the non-profit sector, where my skills and passion for environmental and local food movements included working with the Civic Alliance for South Bend, Indiana’s 20 year City Plan, the St. Joe Valley Greens, the Chester County Task Force to curb greenhouse gas production in Chester County, PA, and coordination for Maysies’ Farm internship program in southeastern PA.
Here in Atlanta I serve on the Dekalb County 4th district Community Council, a volunteer group appointed by county commissioners to review and advise on local development applications. I’m Co-Chair for my neighborhood’s Avondale-Rockbridge Civic Alliance (ARCA) and a member of the Civic Association Network (CAN), also on their newly formed Watershed Committee. I am currently involved with a multi-county group trying to protect our diminishing tree canopy; City In the Forest (CITF). I also served on the board of the Avondale Arts Alliance from 2011-2016. From 2011 to 2014 I worked with a grass-roots group focused on smart urban growth; Good Growth Dekalb. The group was recognized by House Representative Karla Drenner for contributing to the sustainability of the community in her 2012 resolution.
The Woodmere Museum. Contemporary Voices, 69th Annual Juried Exhibition with Susan Lewis, arts and culture reporter for WRTI. (audio)
Philadelphia Inquirer 2007
by Inquirer art critic Victoria Donohoe
NYC-based cultural critic
WEEKEND: VISUAL ARTS 2004
By JULIE YORK COPPENS
South Bend Tribune Staff Writer
Diem, BDA’s Journal Fall 1997
‘The Fine Line’, by Rebecca Barnes.
Art Papers, Jan/Feb 1989
‘Nepenthe’, review of Callanwolde show by Paul Evans
Art Papers, May/June 1987
‘State of the Art/Art of the State’, review of Nexus Biennale by Alan Sondheim
Art Papers, Nov/Dec 1986
‘Cutting Them off at the Pass/Experiments, Diversions and Lies’, review of
Mattress Factory Show.
Sonnet LIV, from One Hundred Love Sonnets by Pablo Neruda, translated by Stephen Tapscott
as the fire honors and nourishes peace,
so you and I made this heavenly outcome.
The mind and love live naked in this house.
decisions harder than the dreams of a hammer
flowed into the lovers’ double cup,
on the scale: the mind and love, like two wings.
—So this transparency was built.