I am a a mixed media painter based in New England.
My work combines scientific data and technical text with the narrative potential of figurative, mythological, symbolic, contemporary and archival imagery to confront the existential trauma of environmental crises.My work considers:
How do historical ideas and traditional cultural beliefs inform our contemporary relationship to the natural world? How does the rational, analytical mind understand, and the emotional, intuitive body react?
I was born in the mid-20th century during “The Great Acceleration”, a period of exponential growth in fossil-fuel emissions, chemical pollutants and other global trends that are directly linked to extreme climate events and environmental crises. For much of my life, I was blissfully unaware of these trends. When Superstorm Sandy pummeled our home in New York and devastating wildfires threatened family in California, I began to pay serious attention.
Research and Despair
I started reading obsessively about ecology and climate, from scientific reports in barely decipherable jargon to investigative journalism in alarmingly clear language. I became hyper-aware of news about catastrophic monsoons and devastating drought, ocean acidification and disappearing glaciers, deforestation and mass species extinctions. A growing sense of despair lead me to research ecological anxiety. My artwork shifted in reaction.
Collective Trauma, Science and Information Overload
The Viral Load series, created during the Covid-19 pandemic, solidified my current approach to addressing collective trauma:
I combine research about the causality of trauma, in the form of data, text and diagrams, with archetypal figures that embody the complex emotional distress of our rapidly changing world. This work explores the physical trauma of environmental disasters, the emotional trauma of eco-anxieties and the cognitive trauma of overwhelming information.
My layers of partially legible, hand-written fragments from scientific and archival research highlight the inaccessibility of technical writing and the stress of information overload. By writing out this terrifying data by hand, I acknowledge that I am aware. I am witnessing. I am grieving.
Anthropocene Apocalypse: Ancient Myth, Eco-Anxiety and Modern Narrative
Apocalyptic tales of world-ending devastation caused by supernatural beings are found in cultural traditions throughout history. 21st century ecological and climate disasters, however, are triggered by the cumulative actions of industrialized humanity. I repurpose ancient mythologies from the cultural heritage of Western civilization as narrative frameworks for Anthropocene events of epic scale.
In my practice, I consider how environmental science data can be communicated in ways that engage the emotions as well as the mind. My layers of figurative and text elements, scientific and archival research, and allusions to historical myth examine how emotional response, data-based evidence and traditional belief inform humanity’s relationship to multiple, intersecting ecological and climate crises.
The American Psychological Association describes eco-anxiety as “fear of environmental cataclysm from observing the seemingly irrevocable impact of climate change.” Acknowledgement of eco-anxieties, including ecological grief, can lead to positive, proactive adaptation and resilience. My intent is to prompt connections among science, history and culture, and generate conversations about the multiple challenges that humanity, and all living entities, face.
Sharing professional resources for climate-related mental health is part of my practice.