A narrative of the body
Together, words and pictures tell the story of my body’s life and its transformation into art.
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Art looks beneath the surface of life, and for me the place to look has always been the body. I use drawing to convey the body’s visceral textures, its inherent beauty, uniqueness, and visual complexity, and its connection to the processes and patterns of nature.
I draw myself, from the inside out, tuning in to sensory and kinesthetic perceptions and finding beauty in a curving spine.
Asymmetry at my body’s core brings the need for a subtle effort of balancing, which keeps me engaged with the workings of my bones and muscles, nerves and senses. In anatomical terms, this is the realm of proprioception: the network of inner body signals and self-sensors through which the body monitors its relationships with space, time, gravity, and all that is other.
That conscious inhabiting of my body is at the core of my art.
My art is literally created by water, and imbued with its dynamics of movement, fluidity and flow, through my “floating colors” art-making process.
To create the underlayers for my drawings, I float oil paints on water. The drops of color spread out on the water’s surface as if magnified under a microscope lens, echoing the forms of nature. Transferred to paper, the floating imagery becomes the foundation for overlaid figurative drawing with charcoal, pastel pencil, and oil crayon. Drawing becomes a process of revealing what lies beneath the surface.
For someone whose physical life is constricted and whose range in the world is limited, this sense of an inward opening is wonderfully liberating. Inside my body I find a world I can marvel at and never get to the end of, a cosmos of infinitely unfolding detail.
View and read more about my process
Floating in water is where my body feels suspended, almost weightless, and I can move freely, not limited by pain or stiffness or weakness. In this suspended state, I’m aware of my body, yet the effort of moving is so balanced and graceful as to seem effortless.
That’s the feeling I try to keep with me when I’m moving through the world, and it’s the feeling I want my work to have. Drawing, I feel my body pouring directly into the lines I make on the paper, remembering how it feels to move freely, feeling pain dissolve into fluid grace.
An experience at age thirteen was life-defining: spinal surgery and a year in a full-body plaster cast. Scoliosis, with its complicated rotational dynamics, is fundamentally visual – all about spatial relationships, asymmetry, and balance. I explore it from the inside out, with a body awareness grounded in my study of dance anatomy, neuromuscular training and movement practice, and my access to real anatomical source materials and medical images made for my use as an artist.
I ground my images in the real, drawing from bones and cadaver dissections (at NYU School of Medicine, where I’m Artist in Residence) and from cutting-edge 3D radiology images of my own body, made for my use as an artist. My drawings evolve slowly as I learn the anatomy in increasing depth and detail.
I work to evoke the textures of real flesh and bone: a sensual take on anatomy, a reclaiming of the inner landscape.
In the 3D lab, I twist and turn the image of my spine at each vertebral level to view the compressed spaces through which my nerves must emerge. In the Anatomy Lab I can see and draw the nerves themselves – pathways for movement and sensory experience: the consciousness of the body.
and my work as Artist in Residence at NYU School of Medicine
At their heart, my investigations involve the nature of consciousness, especially the consciousness of and in the body. Through the unique circumstances of my life, I’ve gotten to know and feel my body from the inside out, and tune in to its proprioceptive, inner body sensors and signals.
View and read more about the consciousness of the body
What I’m working on now - an art-making journal