The White Columns Curated Artist Registry is an online catalog of digital images documenting the work of artists who are not affiliated with a commercial gallery in New York City. Each submission is reviewed by our curatorial staff; in order to be considered for the registry, one must submit work digitally via this website.
Drawing on the nature around me and traditional craft practices such as quilt-making and historical ornament, I attempt to keep both feet in the future and a finger in the past while reflecting on how these textile processes relate to the idea of women’s work. Color, material, and the combination and re-contextualization of pattern, nature and situation– traditional v. non, nature vs. manmade, etc. – are gestures that excite my practice. I come from a painting background – not a textile one – so my approach to using these methods is less practical and precise and more about using their visual language in something larger and less straightforward.
Many of my paintings are new, sometimes off, interpretations of folklore, legends that tell the future, creation myths, and superstitions – and included in all is my relationship to them. My interest in these subjects was first peaked by the discovery that my ancestors, primarily Ann Putnam and her father Thomas Putnam, played an immanent role in the condemnation of the Salem witches. This horrendous discovery led me down a path of research, examining the people involved and the motivation behind their actions. Most intriguing to me was Ann, 11 years old at the time of the trials, who’s malicious assertions were deluded as a victim of her father. Years later, at the age of 25, she retracted all of her allegations and publicly apologized, begging the forgiveness of God and the victims’ families. Her guilt has been a principal subject in my work.
Illuminated manuscripts and decorative borders are also structures that interest me. What is important enough in one’s life to ‘illuminate’? A dream? Surgery? A favorite plant? Do these things and events suddenly absorb more meaning if we frame them this way? Or does the border become the subject and the content it is framing fade into the background? I attended a Waldorf school from Kindergarten through 12th grade, during which we were encouraged to frame most of our drawings with simpler versions of these historic ornamental borders. Looking back on some of the pages I made as a child, the border gives them a sacredness that they would not hold otherwise. I have a reverence for these drawings that I want to capture again, years later, in the images I create today.