After finishing graduate school at the University of Iowa, I was all over the map with my work and had no real focus. Physically and emotionally I was moving in a number of different directions and this impacted my work. I had no studio, no job, and then when I found a job I didn’t necessarily like it very much. Unfortunately, my work began to reflect this period of my life: random, unininspired, unfocused and, well, ugly. It took some time to get myself together, and then to get my work back on track.
In getting myself together, I had to realize that I needed to settle down. I was on the verge of a serious relationship, after years of running away from serious relationships and leaving a wreckage of broken hearts from here to there and everywhere. I had to find a focus not just in a relationship with another person, but also with myself. What were the things that influenced who I was on the verge of becoming as a person? In making these decisions about myself and my work while at the same time settling down with someone, I realized that it was all about family for me. I then began to look at how my family had influenced my thinking, and my work as an artist. Oddly enough, the answer was there all along, even when I was making work that was “ugly.” My work had always reflected the influences of my maternal grandmother and my mother: inspired by texture, patterns, found objects and words as well as the ability to use what was at hand to create new “recipes.” This is how my grandmother quilted and how my mother cooks.
The work that I have been focusing on for the past few years was started while I was a resident artist at the Vermont Studio Center in May of 2006. Some have used the lace curtains, doilies and table runners pilfered from my mother’s storage. Found text images (from poems, non-fiction literature, and the Bible) have provided a context as well as an additional textural element for my work. I have titled my work with words such as “faith,” “surrendered,” and “virtue” as way of acknowledging the strong spiritual and emotional sensibilities that go into my work. My more recent work (which can be seen in the exhibitions at Wheelock, Bristol CC and Boston City Hall) more directly reference the women in my family who have influenced me: Bertha (my mother), Irene (my maternal grandmother), Daisy (my paternal grandmother) and Margaret (one of my many aunts).
I should also note that I have named this blog after my press name Rae Press, which is named for my mother’s middle name Rae. But she hates it.