I am a collector, a hoarder, an archivist, mining the past to explore the future. After we are gone, what personal items do we leave behind that will connect us to future generations? This is the question I ponder in our post-digital age as I search flea markets, thrift shops and eBay for things like old handwritten post cards, business ledgers, and 35mm slides to use as the basis for my multimedia art. Like ghosts from the past, they give us clues to their owners’ lives, as well as being beautiful in and of themselves. I salvage these vintage scraps and use them as both the inspiration for and the physical basis of my own art, making sure that their beauty and original purpose are considered. Aligned in tight, matrix-like formats, some of my larger wall pieces appear to be groupings of organic, gestural paintings, but up close, reveal themselves as bits of private, handwritten human communication and documentation.
I want to call attention to these worn, vintage documents as a contrast to our digital age, where paper and postcards are used less and less, keyboards are replacing pens and pencils, and our personal photographs reside mainly on computers, tablets, and cell phones. When we are gone from this world, what will we set adrift – passwords and pixels? Art is a way of preserving the past while exploring these cultural contradictions.
I look at my work as collaborations, working together with the unknowing originator of these historical objects. Adding layers of connective thread, such as graphite, wite-out, oil stick, and tape, I arrange and ground the items, respectfully saving and archiving these intimate moments. My hope is that by gathering and celebrating these found objects that were once so precious to someone else, I give them a new and valued place to exist while calling attention to what we leave behind.