Trading gazes

My mother, a habitual embroiderer, was the heart of my childhood home. My father, an engineer and mathematician, was rational and uncomfortable with emotion. My mother passed away when I was a teenager and many years later, a few weeks before my son was born, my father died. Seeking a visual language to convey difficult, layered emotions, I borrow ideas from the Surrealist parlor game, the exquisite corpse to combine with quilting and embroidery traditions.

I begin in a local public library with a word from the card catalogue drawer such as migration. Moving several cards forward, I find the word mates, then mazes and finally alight on Milky Way. The words form the basis for imagery, which is cut, quilted and sewn into a fiberglass window screen. I then coat rag paper with cyanotype or van dyke emulsions, and print the screens like a photogram. The resulting trace, a negative of the original screen, references the absence of my parents as well as the slow disappearance of card catalogue drawers from neighborhood libraries.

Photographing the outside world through the screen I am interested in the way a small figure placed deliberately in the landscape, quietly elicits a self-reflexive connection, returning the gaze inward. I seek to evoke the amelioration of mourning through these slow, meditative, and meandering processes. I find great value in an open-ended practice guided by unexpected possibilities.