Ghost Stories

Summer means time in the studio for research and development. And this year it was a perfect mix of uninterrupted trial and error that yielded some very exciting results!

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I have a fascination with early photography and have collected antique tintype portraits ever since I was introduced to the daguerreotype collections at Historic Northampton in 2016. For Unidentified Women, I scoured flea markets collecting antique tintype photographs. Struck by the poignant anonymity of the subjects, I altered with raw and idiosyncratic embroidery to call attention to those whose identities are long forgotten.

UPROOTED, 20.75 x 16.25 in. - aluminum, embroidery, artificial flowers, asstd threads - 2019

UPROOTED, 20.75 x 16.25 in. - aluminum, embroidery, artificial flowers, asstd threads - 2019

This new series, Ghost Stories, expands on these small intimate tintype portraits both in size and expression. They are scanned, enlarged, cropped, transferred onto large sheets of aluminum, and then embroidered to create powerful confrontational images.

Inspired by the uneasy postures and expressions of my finds, I investigate for hidden meanings that lay just below the surface – focusing on the strangeness of what is assumed to be known – but isn’t. The new images challenge perceptions as they capture that place where anxiety and beauty can co-mingle. In this way, an obsolete 19th century photo process is transformed into an object of contemporary relevance that recontextualizes history and begs the question: What is really going on here? Is what we see really what it is?

IN GOD WE TRUST, 19 x 16 in. - aluminum, cotton thread - 2019

IN GOD WE TRUST, 19 x 16 in. - aluminum, cotton thread - 2019

This September the Cahoon Museum of America Art is presenting a traveling daguerreotype exhibition entitled Through The Looking Glass: Daguerreotype Masterworks from the Dawn of Photography.

“This exhibition is a comprehensive survey celebrating the art of the daguerreotype- the first successful method of photography. Through the Looking Glass features important examples from America, France, England, and the Middle East. … All the major collecting genres of daguerreotypes -landscapes, architectural studies, occupationals, erotic stereoviews, post-mortems, and of course portraiture- are represented by superb, often surprising examples.”

In the parallel show Look This Way I’ll be exhibiting with two other artists to offer intriguing counterpoints to the daguerreotypes on view. Jackie Reeves recaptures fleeting moments of personal history in her Memory Paintings. Ceramicist Kimberly Sheerin creates monumental vessels that memorialize the lives of significant women whose lives remain hidden and unknown.

We hope to challenge the viewer to stop, look deeper, linger longer and to consider what their artwork truly reveals. “…Even as people and moments are recorded by the camera, things are not always what they seem; even though we possess family photographs we hold dear, memory is fleeting and transient; even when we think a photograph tells us the truth, there is so much that is never recorded.”

Look This Way
Cahoon Museum of American Art

September 6 – October 30, 2019
Fall Art Exhibitions Opening Reception: Friday, September 13, 4:30 – 6:00pm