In the visual arts, a good CV including many shows, collections, etc. has a high importance, in my opinion sometimes too high. Do you have any advice for people who haven’t had the chance yet to develop an (important) CV?
Building a CV is important and equally so is having your voice in your art. Understand what you are doing and why and present that. From that very first show I was in with my one page Artist CV to now, I’ve been in over 100 shows and have sold my work both nationally and internationally. I exhibited at several art fairs in NYC, Florida and SOFA Chicago which is the premier show in the States for Sculptural Arts. You just have to get out there and grow your CV one step at a time.
I am the current president of New England’s Sculpture Association (NESA), we’re in our 75th year now. We have over 180 artists, and there are various levels regarding where they are in their art life and what they want from their art — from avocational to professional artists that have their sculptures all over the world. It’s interesting to be a part of NESA and see that range of what people create and want from their art. Some people are happy making sculpture and show in their town. That is thrilling for them and that is great, it’s perfect. For me, I want more time with my art, and I want more of it out in the world to be seen.
My art is about bringing joy. I feel like we have enough stress and angst in the world. We need to have a moment to let in calm and joy.
When people look at my art they express to me that they feel just that, they can take a moment — a pause to recalibrate or let go of the things that are happening in their life and in the world and just to breathe, feel joy and get in touch with that again. My message in my art is not about political issues, hardships, pushing a point or making people see something. Sometimes I wonder “Is that good enough?” Should I try to speak more to pain and suffering through my sculpture? At the end of the day, it just doesn’t feel like why I am here on the planet, so I have to stay true to myself.
I recently talked with another artist who said that she doesn’t feel the need to verbalize everything, that she wants people to experience and feel her works, rather.
That’s my other idea too, having a conversation with artworks, I think that’s what art does. But here, I’ve been really thinking: I hope you don’t think, I’m hoping you just feel. And I think that art is the only place where you got to do that, really.
There is a lot of talk about “finding your own style” in the visual arts. Is that something that has been of importance to you?
I kept hearing, “You have to have a body of work”, and I wonder, “What does that actually mean?” I’ve seen artists creating all their pieces in one style or around one theme. Personally, I would find that tedious over time. I want to experiment, try new things and I don’t know, maybe have many ‘bodies of work’. My sense is that my art is recognizable as my work. I don’t know if I should say style, but there is a certain aspect to it. The movement, flow and energy that comes through in all of my pieces. I keep honing my skill.
I wanted to talk to you about being a woman in the art world. I’ve heard other female artists say that they felt the need to work twice as hard as their male peers to be taken seriously…have you ever had the feeling that your art is perceived or valued differently because you are a woman?
Yes. I suspect buyers ask me to negotiate more often, or offer lower prices, than they do for male artists. Most exhibits, however, are blind juried, so that helps with gender representation.
I belong to the American Women Artists (AWA) and their goal is to increase the number of women who get invited to exhibit in major museums. Every year they pick a museum and work with the curators to facilitate and jury an exhibit composed of pieces from the members of AWA. The museum also commits in advance to purchase one of the pieces as part of their permanent collection. The most recent was in Tennessee at the Customs House Museum.
Why is this needed? Well, AWA shows a picture of a museum wall with all the paintings and they ask, “How many of them are by women?” In the next picture, of all the frames are empty, because none of them were done by women. So yes, I think we need to push. I think gender imbalance is real in art, in the workplace, everywhere. I was only the second female president of NESA in 75 years. I invited 3 women onto the six-member board, including one younger woman, to give them that opportunity to lead within the art world. I’m trying to do my part in this, and I’m hopeful that it will change.
Any project that you’re currently working on that you’d like to share with us?
Yes, I’m working on a big, 22 sculptural project. It is about Jungian Archetypes, the Tarot deck and the major Arcana. The Arcana are an expansion of the Jungian Archetypes. Archetypes are universal, inborn models of people, behaviors, and personalities that play a role in influencing human behavior. My plan is to represent the Major Arcana in sculpture.
I am hopeful to have an immersive gallery exhibit in 2024. Other works of mine are one of the mainstays in the gallery already. One day last summer I said to the gallerist, “You know I’m working on this project and it would need half of the gallery, at least.” She said “Well, tell me more.” In that moment, I thought to myself, “Oh my God, you are so ballsy, woman.” (laughs). She prodded me for more information, and I told her about the Tarot. “Wow, that sounds amazing, I love the Tarot Cards!” She came to visit my studio and see some of the sculptures already in progress. I told her that I was giving myself a deadline of 2024, because this is going to take me a couple of years to pull this off. I’m also expanding the materials beyond just stone. I’ve made bronze and resin pieces. I’m going to work in wood, clay, felting, fabric and some wire pieces as well. In the Tarot Deck, the Major Arcana are numbered from 0-21, the number 0 is the Fool. It is about impulsively leaping off the cliff and seeing where the journey takes you. I am starting my Fool’s journey with this project, I took the leap!