At the beginning of summer I was noodling around trying to think of something to make out of a dozen 8.5” x 11” wooden panels. I was also trying to work on a particularly bad attitude I had that day. For my attitude, I cracked open an 8.5” x 11” binder where I keep a list of things I’m thankful for. I reviewed it and was trying to add to it when, wait, the binder is 8.5” x 11”...hmmm. That is how I decided to collage the most easily relatable items on my thankful list. Not only are the words collaged, but the blue and red stripes and fake holes are glued on too.  The reason behind the time intensive re-creation of this seemingly mundane list is to emphasize that giving thanks is intentional and often deeply felt for small and simple things.

I give thanks 12 panels grey back.jpg

2020/2021

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  In 2017 I attached quotations to a pier in Eastport Maine where the tides are over 20 feet.  Sections became obscured then dissolved as the tide rose, changing the meaning in the process.

The above famous quotations from Dr King and The Declaration of Independence can be combined and read horizontally.

42"h x 148"w

117"h x 42"w

127" x 42"w

57"h x 42"w

21"h x 128"w

38"h x 67.5"w

I have obscured parts of this familiar hymn to leave "Amazing that I once was" as its new message.

34.5"h x 69"w

My primary concern in the following drawing is the spatial relationship developed with the viewer and its parallels with person to person encounters.  In making it, I thought of myself as the paper that has been pierced with a story that can’t be erased.  Like wounds that heal over, the holes have been rubbed closed leaving scars.  The difficulty in reading these intimate details becomes a dance, with the viewer stepping in close to see some portions, then stepping away to read others.  The textural quality of the marks creates a desire to gently touch, like one would read Braille. 

Painting His Name

I went to preschool with my brother. 

    We were in the same class.

   The next year he moved up.

   I was younger.  I stayed.

 

 

I’d look for him

   out the classroom window

   or through the chain link fence

       that separated the play yards.

I hoped to see him.

 

 

I drew the first letter of his name

     on finger painted pictures.

I wore his old, softened up jeans

     and cowboy boots.

 

 

He helped me

    memorize my page of reading

       so that no one would know

       I couldn’t read.

He taught me to blow a bubble

     with gum.

 

 

Sometimes he lived at the hospital.

 

 

My brother and I went to a new school

    together.

      We were in the same French class.

      He sat in the front row.

     I hated the front row,

         so I sat behind him.

 

The first snow of that winter

    we snuck outside

     in bare feet

     catching snowflakes on our tongues.

They were so light and dry

    they almost weren’t there.

 

I went to school the morning he died.

    In French class,

       I sat down

       in my seat

Then I moved up a seat

   to the front row.

100"h x 55"w

2016

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Instructions Pictorial

 

1. Use a paintbrush that is hooked on a fishing pole to draw a picture of a trout.

 

2. Fill the ruts and potholes in a damaged street with bright colors of paint.Attach a canvas to your back and then bike through them.

 

3. Telephone Home Depot.Have them describe an object in their store using geometry and metaphors without ever mentioning what the object is.Draw according to their instructions.

4. Put casters on a pen.Place on paper in a flat bottom boat attached to an ocean buoy.

 

5. Squeegee ink into the carved up surface of an ice rink. Print the image using your body heat, an iron, or possibly a Crème Brulee Torch.

Instructions Installations and Ephemera

 

1. On a long roll of sturdy paper list everything you love in water soluble ink.Lash this to a pier in the Bay of Fundy at low tide and wait 6 hours.Or, write down everything you loathe.Both are equally true.

 

2. Rearrange your grocery store according to parts of speech, (an aisle for nouns such as Tide, Life, Monster; an aisle for verbs such as Shout, Bounce, Depend, etc.)Then shop for poetry.

 

3. Tie the ends of an 84’ bungee cord into a loop. Assigning 10 people to act as though they are a specific digit on either the right or left hand, then work together to create a communal Jacobs ladder.

 

4. Using festive colors, spray paint or stencil the following around town:

The city of [name of city]

operates a No Graffiti Policy.

Please refrain from tagging and graffiti art

in and around buildings and all public structures.

Thank you for your co-operation.

 

5. Paint “PROGRESS” around the drain of your kitchen sink.

Instructions Projects of Ongoing Duration

 

1. Paint railroad ties according to the digits in the number Pi using the electronic color code (1=brown, 2=red, etc.)Begin in Silicon Valley and continue as it spreads like a colorful web across the country.

 

2. Use shaving cream to draw a mustache on a public lawn. Add to it daily until the groundskeeper mows. Repeat.

 

3. Place every object you own onto a large piece of paper one item at a time. Trace around each item.Every time you buy an item trace it onto the paper.

 

4. Engage in daily eavesdropping. Write down everything you overhear. Include snippets of conversations, lyrics, sounds and radio news. Whitewash equal to your normal perception of this white noise. 

 

5. Whenever you see dandelions, pick them and insert a toothpick into their tubular stem.Poke them back into the ground rearranged to spell “genocide.”

2017

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Grocery Stories

Banana

Today I broke an innocent banana’s neck. 

I had only wanted to buy three bananas.  As I was separating the conjoined septuplets, the middle child couldn’t decide which of its brothers and sisters to cling to.  The operation did not go well and I left the poor little disfigured fruit behind for someone else to deal with.  I hate people like that.  I glare condescendingly at them in grocery stores as they maim fruit without a thought.  But today I was one of them.  I was not up for finding beauty in the bruised bananas of the world, the interesting patterns of brown spots as they age, the wonder of a once rubbery flexible peel becoming black and crisp in an awkward pose of death.  Today I was not an artist. 

Today I was buying precisely three bananas.

2018

Carrot

            A little old lady walked into Lucky’s about the same time as I did.  She looked like she had scoliosis which made me empathize with her immediately.  The two of us ended up in Produce, where she began her hunt for a single carrot. 

            There were heaps of bagged carrots:  one lb., two lbs., three lbs., five lbs, some small and peeled, some large and dirty.  But there weren’t any individual carrots.   She asked a young produce man why there weren’t.  He vaguely explained without even looking up from stacking apples, and I wondered if my little scoliosis friend could even hear him.  That’s when I became ever-so-slightly morally superior to Produce Guy.  I would make sure Granny got her carrot!  It seemed so obvious.  There were hundreds of carrots with silly plastic packaging that kept them locked away and unattainable. I interjected “Can’t you just open one of the bags?” 

            Produce Guy glared.  I had put him on the spot.  He ripped open a bag, perhaps wishing it was my head, granny picked a carrot, and for a moment I felt like I had done something right.

            But by the time I got to my car, I wasn’t so sure.  Where was my compassion for Produce Guy?  I didn’t even thank him.  Had I gotten him in trouble?  Messed up the accounting of carrots?  Who knows what kind of negative impact I’d had.  Maybe he’ll get fired, or Granny will choke on the carrot and die.  It seems like I can’t do something right without also doing something wrong, my yin yang of morality.

       

2018

 Bag

2018

     I was zipping through my list of errands feeling great about myself.  No traffic, plenty of parking, correct change.  I even remembered to bring my reusable bag into Target.  I was already in the habit of bringing it with me into grocery stores, so I felt ultra-competent that I’d thought to bring it into a department store.

      By the time I walked into Whole Foods I had already crossed off Get Gas, Library, Bank, and my previous stop at Target.  This was my reward.  I would leisurely taste free samples while browsing the micro brews.  I took my time in front of the refrigerated case. I was thinking of getting a couple single bottles to try as well as a 6 pack of my old favorite. I chatted with other beer enthusiasts about hops/malt blends and whether or not to stay loyal to a brand when it was bought out by a large corporation.  I was so engrossed in my beer reverie that after I’d made my selection, I couldn’t find my cart that held my reusable bag.  Someone had stolen my cart!

     I’ve lost carts before.  Once was just after I’d had a butcher hand me half of a pork butt.  I was mortified that I had to tell him I’d lost my butt and could he please get me another one.

     So, the hunt was on.  I scanned carts in my area looking for the telltale bag, then made my way to the front of the store on high alert figuring I would spot the cart/bag thief at checkout.  I lurked around the row of registers and peered down aisles.  My day had been going so well.  All I needed was my bag back and I could return home feeling victorious.  After a significant amount of lurking, the staff asked if they could help me.  I explained I was looking for my bag.  They got one of their green Whole Foods bags, perhaps because they were being nice or maybe they were just hoping I’d leave.  Inwardly, I wanted my bag for the feeling of completion and perfection and justice, but I knew that was ridiculous.  So I bought my warming beer, carried it to my car in the new bag, and placed it in the back next to…MY BAG filled with my Target purchases.  Oh yeah, I forgot I’d already used it.  Well, not a perfect job shopping, but hey, I got a new bag.  Score.

Store

2018

            A new produce market opened very close to my house.  I thought this could be great.  I’m always forgetting some key ingredient (like bell peppers when cooking stuffed bell peppers.)  I could jog to the store and rescue my dinners.  To be honest I’d probably drive. 

            I gave it a try last Fall, buying apples, grapes, and a few other items that I don’t remember.  They tout organic and local, so I was hoping for farm fresh awesomeness.  Unfortunately, the apples were under-ripe and tasteless, kind of like eating a potato.  The grapes sucked my salivary glands dry, and left my mouth an arid wasteland.  And they were expensive.   I’m “for” small business and buying local, but I’m maybe a little more “for” flavor.   So I decided not to shop there. 

            But, on that initial trip I entered for a chance to win a gift basket.  AND I WON.  The only other thing I’ve ever won was a slab of corned beef.  My love of free food overrode any hypocrisy I felt claiming my prize. 

            The basket contained organic oreos, organic apples, organic pears, organic oranges, organic grapefruit, organic banana chips, organic dried cranberries, and a jar of organic blueberry jam.  It was amazing and yummy.  This could have made me a loyal customer-for-life, but the gift basket, in all its cellophaned glory, was from Harry and David’s, not their store!

            Now I’m even more conflicted.  Nice people who gave me free stuff but who sell flavorless food vs Faceless corporations selling succulent and toxic produce. Every time I drive by I feel a twang of guilt. 

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Mint Milanos

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detail: side panel
IMG_3851.JPG

Mint Milanos 2019                                                                                      6.25" x 17.5" x 5"

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PRODUCT HAIKUS

2017

     While shopping at Lucky’s I noticed this sign. It struck me as absurd, even a little malevolent as I imagined healthy eaters being tempted by junk food and junk food eaters being guilted and shamed in this aisle by their fellow shoppers. I thought about how I would rearrange things, and decided it would be much more interesting to have aisles read like poetry, or even organized into parts of speech.  With this in mind, I began creating my series Product Haikus in which I have taken brand names and reclaimed the original meanings of their words. 

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FAILURES

Productive Morning

            Early one cool July morning I headed out to my vegetable garden.  Squirrels had been eating ALL the flowers off my zucchini plants.  I’d seen them from my window and had a plan to keep these furry little gnawing machines away.  I went to Home Depot and bought the tiniest possible grid of wire mesh, about 1/8th or 3/16ths of an inch, which I began bending and wiring together as though I was wrapping a five sided present.  Since I didn’t want the squirrels tunneling in, I dug an 8” deep trenches around each plant, placed the edges of the cage in it, and filled the trench back in.  I was scratched and dirty but felt good as I stood back to marvel at my own genius, proud that I had outsmarted a squirrel!  It took a few minutes until I realized I had "outsmarted" the bees too.

            Next, (yes, the same morning, still determined to be productive since I’d had to return my zucchini to their free range lifestyle,) I decided I’d save an old pair of comfortable sneakers whose soles had fallen off.  I went inside and got out the Superglue.  I squirted an entire tube on the bed of each sole, and then stepped in while wearing the shoe part.  I stood and waited 2 minutes for it to set.  The good news is that I did not glue my foot into the shoe.  But, unbeknownst to me, the glue had oozed out onto the floor.  So, I glued my shoes to the kitchen floor.

Sock

            I was holding an armful of dirty clothes.  I had gathered them while going room to room, harvesting them off my children’s floors plus a few from under the coffee table, under the sofa cushions, and in the freezer.  (Yes, the freezer.)  Since I couldn’t see over the pile in my arms, I made my way down the hall with my head scrunched to the right.  As I passed the hall bathroom I saw a pool of bright yellow pee in the toilet.  So, I stretched out an arm to flush, at which point a sock from my bundle fell in. 

             I had to think fast.  “Was it worth it to plunge my hand in and catch the sock?”  I hesitated.  I wasn’t thrilled at the thought of a urine soaked sock rejoining the pile in my arms. “What if something else fell in during the rescue mission?  Then again, the sock might clog the pipes.”  By this point the sock was rapidly swirling the circumference of the bowl.  So, I dropped the pile of the clothes on the floor, pushed up my sleeve, and plunged at the sock writhing in the eye of the toilet hurricane.

             I missed. 

Persimmons

            I was driving home today and saw two middle age women dressed like realtors picking all the fruit off the Shteyns front yard persimmon tree. The Shteyns are a Russian family that live near us.  Eugene is tall, thin and wiggly.  Svetlana is quite short, and has the frizziest light brown hair I’ve ever seen.  [It’s like her head has a thick wooly mist hovering around it.]  Eugene marvels that he now lives in California.  Back in Russia they had a saying “when the aloe blooms” which is similar to our saying “when pigs fly”.  So when they bought their house he planted the unbelievable aloe, cactus, citrus, and the above mentioned persimmon tree.  Clearly these women were out of place, since they were neither quite short and frizzy headed, nor tall, thin and wiggly.

            I yelled out my car window at them with the most outraged inflection I could muster “you don’t pick someone else’s fruit!”  They slowly walked to their beautiful white Mercedes, opened the back, put in the bags of fruit they had collected, and drove away.  I wanted to do more.  Do you call the police about persimmon theft?  Should I get their license plate?  Should I have leapt from my car and snatched the bags back?

            I have replayed the persimmon picking incident in my head many times over the last few days.  I have substituted migrant workers in a beat up truck for the women and their car, and have less of a problem with them doing the picking.  I’m also OK with very tall Sudanese on bicycles.  Hunched women wearing shawls, and old men in wool caps who ride the bus don’t raise my hackles either.  Children on foot would be fine too. I am without a doubt prejudiced.  I either have a grudge against realtors, white European cars, or perhaps middle age, medium height women in which case it might be a self-loathing thing.

Last Week

Last week’s highlights include:

Tues.  I was going to be out-and-about all day.  (I had a dentist appointment followed by a doctor’s appointment with my new primary care physician, followed by a poker game.) I showered and slipped on a shirt from a pile of clean clothes.  I didn’t realize I’d put it on inside-out.  All day I flaunted exposed seams.  All day tags flapped at my side with the extra buttons.  And, the back of my neck announced my Large size.

Wed.  I received an email saying Fed-Ex had delivered the art board I’d ordered. Except that they hadn’t.  No package was at my doorstep.  Hmm?  So I called.  I was a little snippy as they asked if I had looked around by the front door.  I told them it was a 3 foot by 4 foot package, I would notice it.  They asked if someone else was home and might have brought it in.  Again, it’s a large package. I told them I would also notice it if it was in the house.  They asked if maybe a neighbor had it.  I replied that they didn’t need a signature so they would leave it at the door, it’s a safe neighborhood.  Geez, they thought I was a moron.  I was transferred to the next customer service representative with a heavy accent that I couldn’t understand. I think we had a repeat of the previous conversation, but I was just guessing at what he was asking.  After him I spoke to a third representative who talked faster than a chipmunk.  We covered the same ground. My tone of voice had reached the indignant I’m-not-stupid-but-you-are range (which is kind of funny coming from someone who wore their shirt inside-out the previous day…but she didn’t know this.)  The Chipmunk added some new questions such as my name and address.  She repeated them back to me but was a number off.  I corrected her “No, it’s 21905 not 21904.”  She corrected me that the shipping address was 21904.  I quickly brought up my order on my computer, ready lay into her.  Well what do you know, my bad, I’d gotten my own address wrong. My package was right across the street.

Thurs. was the day that I spray mounted a photo onto the art board I’d had shipped. I did such a bad job that it looked like it had cellulite.  I soldiered on and boxed it up to send to the gallery where it will be in a show (hopefully dimly lit.) But I kept forgetting to include things like the mounting strips.  So I had to slice it open, slip it in, and then re-tape it.  I repeated this for the statement/bio, then again for the inventory form, then again for the agreement, then again for the identification tag.  When I got to the Fed-ex store it simply boggled my mind that the price to send it was $13, but the price for return shipping was close to $20.  At this point I wanted a padded cell, someplace where I’d be considered high functioning among my institutionalized peers, a life affirming low bar, something I couldn’t screw up.  So, I checked out the DVD Still Alice from the library and watched Julianne Moore succumb to Alzheimer’s.  

It's amazing I haven't been assigned a caretaker.

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