I began using dictionaries as a source of content many years ago. My two-dimensional work is created on grounds of overlapping enlarged dictionary pages. The process of selecting the pages and/or sections of pages was more important to the process than actually making the art. It was about learning and understanding what was on the page and its relationship to the visual imagery being used. After my mother’s sudden death due to breast cancer I began using medical dictionaries in my work and focused much of my research on the synthetic hormone DES (Diethylstilbestrol). Reading and processing the information I found was my way of dealing with grief.
With the loss of my mother my work began to focus on knowledge. I became very sensitive to fact that there would be things I would never learn from her. I started using books as a metaphor for this loss of knowledge. Ri-ˈlēs: Weightless Whisper was the first piece that came out of this approach. Although these books were blank and created on a large scale they helped me developed the process that I continue to use today to shape and form my structures.
Discarded dictionaries were first used to create the book like forms in my piece Inherent Knowledge. Instead of altering the book as one large structure I methodically dissected the book into smaller units which were then individual formed and shaped. Although the resin that I am now using obscures the form I'm freed by not having the restrictions of working with in a jar. I can now create larger structures and manipulate the form even after the pouring process. The resin amplifies the threads and fibers used in the binding process creating movement and line quality in the work that wasn't present in the jar pieces as well as magnifying visuals details.
My current work (Archaic Inquiries) exclusively uses discarded dictionaries. I address in my artist statement how a new generation view our forms of knowledge as antiquated. I'm not suggested that kids brought up in this digital age don't read books, but rather they do not use these forms of knowledge for research or inquiry. Books are read when they are assigned or for pleasure, but as a form of research the process of physically reading a book, flipping through pages, looking through bibliographies is quickly become passed over for quick digital knowledge that can be found by a few clicks.
I’ve been asked and often wonder how long I will continue to use dictionaries in my work...
I don't know how long I will continue working with this imagery. I do know I currently have enough questions and ideas to keep me busy for a while. I am excited about this work and the process which makes me excited to see where it goes.