For over two decades the content my artwork has focused on social justice. Working across media, I aim to marry form and content in visually compelling images and installations. Typically I work on several projects simultaneously. Using gunpowder and graphite, gouache, blood, embroidery, monoprinting, cut and woven paper, my two dimensional work chronicles our contemporary world. The ongoing seventeen year war in Afghanistan, the clandestine drone program in Pakistan, the Syrian refugee crisis, gun violence and political turmoil at home are some of the subjects explored. I engage with this subject matter as a way to stimulate thought and conversation using a visual language of both representation and abstraction.
In 2017 I had an invitation from Kean University to exhibit my work. The 1700 sq. ft. gallery in the Human Rights Institute provided a significant opportunity to display an expansive range of projects, including One to One a collaboration with women in Afghanistan. Although unsettling world events inform much of my work I see the potential for peace. How would things be different if the injustices suffered by women around the globe, especially those traumatized by war, ceased? In 2013 I began working with Afghan women, paying a small wage to help them attend literacy programs. The resulting art installation is comprised of four built structures. Fragile, delicate yet stable, these wood constructions refer to the framework for progress that women’s education can provide. The armatures are embellished with a variety of materials including woven paper floor mats, a wall sized embroidered sampler in Dari, video portraits of Afghan students, embroidered “hand” bags & drawings and writings from my partners in Afghanistan. With this work I hope to bring attention to the challenges these women are facing and to the benefits that their potential could unleash.
Much of my understanding of our country’s military involvement elsewhere comes from the articles I read or the broadcast news. The essence of human suffering is often buried in the over-abundance of information. As an artist, the work I produce is unified in its desire to distill, encapsulate, and visually present complex issues with equanimity. Pausing to examine the details of violent events, my work is an attempt to both humanize these tragedies and to combat the numbing effects of a media-saturated culture. With it I hope to bring more clarity to these subjects through the visual language of art.