LOVE LETTERS TO THE EARTH
This spring I started noticing how many things in nature are shaped like hearts. They struck me as poetic messages from nature, and my newest body of work based on this inspiration, Love Letters from the Earth, will be on exhibition at Convergence Gallery from July 28-August 30. Hearts can be dangerous clichés for an artist to work with, but far from seeming sentimental, these images represent a fierce love of nature, each object somehow expressing a quiet, centering peace. Though these are oil paintings, they are rendered on panels covered with a metaphorical mixture of antique lettering that I collected in France and Japan, stamps, cancelation marks, and plaster. Leaf, butterfly, shell, stone – are painted in painstaking detail to honor the message to, and from, the earth.
Interfacing as an artist with environmental issues has been my passion for decades. As early as 1990 I created a large tile mural for the Rio Grande Zoo, using a quote from Chief Seattle about the interconnection between animals and humans, and incorporating animal tiles created by elementary school children. Since then, I’ve helped to support many efforts with my art: World Wildlife Fund, Western Watersheds, and notably Tree NM, a group that has planted 1,250,000 trees in NM and works to build public awareness regarding the environmental role trees play in our communities. Over the last decade, I created almost 200 paintings in my ongoing “Ark Series”, putting all kinds of creatures into arks which represent protection against extinction. This fall, I’ll be working with the Creative Residency program at Bloedel Reserve in Washington state, which the NY Times called one of the country’s most original and ambitious gardens, bringing artists and innovators from a wide variety of disciplines to the Reserve each year to explore their work while immersed in the natural beauty to be found there. And my long-term goal is to create a traveling exhibit for museums and other venues, of oil pastels of endangered animals in arks, to bring awareness and support for animals around the world. Artists have often been bridge-builders, and my dearest wish is that my work creates bridges by connecting people’s hearts and minds with the remarkable natural world around them.