My recent drawings and installation projects involving birds and birdhouses provide a new entry into the ideas that have, for a longer time, influenced my art: nature-made process over human-made order, birth and death, soil and excavation. A home is a quadrant, its center the anchor for the amorphous process of lives and families that spill outward from it. Houses are refuges and pressure cookers. They are also markers of our earthly existence while our image of a bird points to the sky.
Unlike the houses, the image of the raven or crow in these drawings suggests an existence that extends beyond this earth. I draw the raven because of what author Boria Sax calls their “symbolic ambiguity” in myth and literature in a vast range of cultures. Their black color and their love of carrion make them symbols of death. But crows and ravens are also playful and highly intelligent. In many past and present Native American cultures, the raven is a messenger between the living and the spirit worlds and is associated with healing and magic. For me, the ravens and crows in my drawings are reminders of our temporary and sometimes fragile perch on this earth, and are a reassuring sign of something ancient and more enduring.
I also am interested in large-scale public commissions. The stone chairs pictured are a project I completed for the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point in 2007. I am currently working on two large wall hangings for the Waukesha Public Library.