Over 30 years, I have accumulated files of images: photos, drawings, clippings, Xeroxes, postcards, diagrams, etc., to use as reference material when creating paintings and giving college lectures. Some of the images have shown up in specific paintings, but most remained in files. Since I am blind in one eye, I rely on photos I take or printed images to aid me in compositions. Collapsing three-dimensions into a two-dimensional image, I try to re-create a reality that resembles my monocular experience. That experience, my world, might not be logical to the viewer.
In the fall of 2016, after a retrospective in Houston and in my hometown of Chicago, and after retiring from teaching for 25 years, I started sorting through these files. All the recurring images in my art had multiple, thick files: amaryllis, birds, sacred geometry, blood, keys, snakes, butterflies, shells and moons. There was old sheet music from my mom and grandmother, antique prints destined for repurpose, and torn magazine pages with color combinations I loved. Some files had portions of my old prints or other works on paper that were unfinished or damaged. A few prized, old art magazines such as FMR, which I received as a gift upon graduation with a MFA 30 years ago, also met with the scissors and razor. Many of the images of birds are photos I took in Washington and Fayette counties in central Texas or in Rockport.
The main theme of my work for years has explored "What makes a life?" Some of these collages are very specific to my life experiences: they are visual metaphors for my experience of reality, beyond just the physiology of my sight. Many have personal associations or messages.
The process of laying out scraps of paper mixing subject matter from all the different periods of my artistic practice and interests was a channeled experience, resulting in implausible compositions, subjects, and backgrounds. However, the qualities of energetic presence, beauty, and personal meanings were more important to me than any hidden content I may or may not have intended.
For me, each collage is a spiritual lesson in connectedness. Like a spiritual practice, this body of work is as much about the journey as the destination.