This series abstracts my visions and expresses my response to the powerful raw compelling situation faced by the Japanese people in heroic response as the rest of us watched agape. In the resultant digital prints and textile designs you will see the water, toxic and radioactive, chock-a-block with debris, all the chaos and color in the many images I was seeing daily. The palette and some of the design refer to and borrow from traditional Japanese textiles, the flag of Japan, Katsushika Hokusai's famous 19th century woodblock print after a similar tsunami driven disaster, The Great Wave off Kanagawa, others of his art, and of course Japanese pop culture in general.
I regularly listen to music in the studio particularly when I'm creating. However, while working on this series, I found myself, someone with a strong meditative focus and practice, in a whistle- while-you-work way, unable to clear my mind of the earworm of a chorus from, Hem's "Radiation Vibe"; it was that "... radiation vibe that's got (and certainly kept) me groovin' .... shine on, shine on." Hem is not endorsing my work, but I hope you may want to check out some of their music.
90 Textile Designs & Digital Prints, Copyright 2011.
For days and then weeks, into the Spring of 2011, I found myself yet again obsessed with another water-related disaster. As I have said again and again, the waters are our Mother. Water is a significant part of our bodies and our planets composition. It flows in our veins as it flows in the Earth's rivers and oceans. And after all, or perhaps before all, my original and most familiar entrance into the underworld requires me (and I have much discomfort with deep bodies of water in reality) to dive into an ancient spring-fed well near a hundred's of years old heritage oak tree.
Anyone familiar with my life's work and mission will not be surprised at this project's recurring theme. In the past art has helped me form a response to Hurricane Katrina, the Red River floods, the Gulf oil spill and now the March 2011 Great Sendai Earthquake and Tsunami and the resultant nuclear disaster coupled with Nature's horrible impact.
That said, I was stunned by the extent of the devastation. The sequence of events seemed to compound the horror and impact. I of course could not look away and immersed myself daily in the headlines, articles, interviews, stories, videos, and still images. My brain was saturated with all things Sendai and the questions that arose in response about the safety of nuclear energy. I spent the same amount of time in my studio, doodling in my sketch book and writing in my journal. It is what I do to make sense of these events.
And now we sit watching and waiting, while empathizing with the Japanese, but also wondering of the impact on us all. What's floating our way? I wonder at it all. Who allowed by the way, that it was a wise idea to build so many nuclear power plants in one of, if not the most seismically unstable places on our planet? As is true of all my work, this series, with its evocative palette, rich textures, and deeply interwoven layers, speaks to my overarching project to demonstrate the complex systematic relationships that weave through our daily existence. It also speaks to the multiple layers of realities and dimensions we simultaneously negotiate. None of us is alone. It's truly a small world; what impacts one impacts us all.
if you believe that a picture is worth a thousand words, then i have some stories to share with you.