Artist Statement

My work comes from a belief that art can be a powerful agent for social change. I am interested in addressing the crucial social, environmental and political issues that affect our lives, as an artist and a citizen. Conceptually, I draw from the personal, with the intention of making the issues public. Some of my projects are larger-scale and difficult to represent in visual documentation. In these projects I engage with communities, using the process and the final work produced as a frame for audiences to see and connect with the communities or the larger issues. I am also interested in using my work as a vehicle that helps to provide a democratic forum for dialogue. While some of my work is public, made in response to or in collaboration with historically under-represented communities, the images that I have chosen to represent my work for this website are more object-oriented, studio-based artworks.

Feminist Biography

In 1976 when I was getting my BFA, from Tyler School of Art, in Philadelphia, PA, I was making hard edged color field paintings that I was cutting up into strips and weaving back together, in order to address the divide between “high art”/”low art”, painting/weaving, art/craft, and men’s work/women’s work. In 1979, when I was getting my MA, at University of New Mexico, the women students demanded that we needed a change in the all male faculty and proposed that we hire several well-known feminist visiting artists. I was fortunate to have worked with Jane Kaufman, Harmony Hammond and Joyce Kozloff during that time, delving deeper into making artwork from a feminist perspective. Joyce introduced me to Heresies, the collectively produced feminist publication of art and politics, 1977-1993. During those two years I also attended several women’s consciousness raising groups, in Albuquerque, providing more context for my work as an artist. I moved to the San Francisco East Bay in 1980 and received an MFA in 1981, at University of California, Berkeley, working with Joan Brown and Mary O’Neal, and continued to address issues that were affecting women, with a larger global perspective. Since then I have been exhibiting in museums, galleries and public sites for more than 35 years and I am the recipient of awards and grants that include a Visual Arts Fellowship from the California Arts Council in 2003, the 2001 Potrero Nuevo Prize, Noetic Arts Program Community Grant, San Francisco Arts Commission Market Street Art in Transit Commission and 12 California Arts Council Artist in Residence Grants for community-based public art projects in the San Francisco Bay Area AIDS support service community and in the City of Berkeley homeless women and children services community. I was the Artist in Residence at San Francisco Recycling & Disposal (now called Recology) in 2004. My artwork has been featured in publications including Notes on the Need for Beauty: An Intimate Look at an Essential Quality (2007), by J. Ruth Gendler; Women Artists in the American West (2003), edited by Susan Ressler, Lure of the Local: Sense of Place in a Multicentered Society (1997), by Lucy Lippard, Connecting Conversations: Interviews with 28 Bay Area Women Artists (1988), edited by Moira Roth and Site to Sight, Mapping Bay Area Visual Culture (1995), edited by Lydia Mathiews. My work as a community-based art professor is featured in a book entitled Outside the Frame: Teaching Art for Social Change, by Beverly Naidus, published by New Village Press in 2009. I am currently a Faculty Advisor in the MFAIA Program at Goddard College in Port Townsend, WA, Berkeley City College, in Berkeley, CA and Laney College, in Oakland, CA. I have taught as an Adjunct Professor at San Francisco Art Institute, California College of the Arts, John F. Kennedy University, California State University East Bay, University of New Mexico and for 5 years as an Assistant Professor at University of San Francisco. I am the founder of Positive Art, 1988-present, an art project in the Bay Area AIDS services community and a longtime board member of WEAD (Women Eco Art Dialog)

Bone Boat (for Barry), wood, acrylic paint, hand-carved text, bone, ash, 18” x 216” x 60”, 1991, (I made this piece in memoriam for artist, friend and Positive Art member Barry Frederick.)

First Aid, (partial installation view), mirror, plexiglass, wood, acrylic, bandages, beeswax, found objects, dimensions variable, 1996-1997, (Made in reflection of ten years of Positive Art, my artist residency in the SF Bay Area AIDS services community.)

Veiled Memories, (partial installation view), hug gut, wood, electric light, mirrors etched with Majorie’s poetry, earth, clay, coffee, three room installation with dimensions variable, 1997-1999, (A long-term collaborative project with Claudia Bernardi, Robilee Frederick, and Marjorie Agosin, about memory, loss and grief in our various communities.)

Meditation, (detail of larger piece) 5336 used cotton diaper swatches, drawings etched into salvaged mirror, wood, acrylic paint, waxed linen, paper tags, 18"x 96"x 10", 2001, (A process piece that is a journal of the first year of changing cloth diapers. At the end of each week, a single cloth diaper was cut into swatches, bundled and labeled to represent the amount of diapers changed for twin girls that week. This was done for one full year and is one part of a project entitled Baby, Baby!)

Enemies Too Small to See # 1 and #3, (partial installation view), charcoal on paper, 60” x 192”, 2013-2015, (From a larger project of monumental drawings addressing environmental issues and the body, by looking at both the chemical toxins in all of our bodies and the drug resistant new viruses that we are creating. A detail of these drawings reveals the hundreds of chemicals that live within us.)