Artist Statement

Walking through the forests of Pennsylvania each of my senses are engaged: the snap of a twig, drop of water on my forehead, scent of mushrooms and black soil, and the vibrant trees. People walk through forests every day, but do they stop to see? Do they notice the glisten of a snail’s trail, or the fern frond that seems to wave at them? My work explores the unseen, both in the everyday world and in what my ancestral folklore and mythology maintains is hidden from the casual observer.

My ancestors were an earthen people from Western Europe who held many superstitions about dark forests and vernal pools, and that sense of mystery and intrigue play a major role in my work. As a child, fairy tales, witches, trolls, the mysterious sound of a snapping twig unattached to anything within my view thrilled me. As a teenager, ancient beliefs piqued my curiosity. Inspired by these beliefs, my work is also about reciprocity. By relying on nature for inspiration, it is understood that there is a give and take relationship with it. Forging a relationship with my work in this way and discovering new things about myself in the process is like walking a new trail and discovering a new-to-me mushroom or glimpsing a rare wildflower. Looking closer, it is not hard to find evidence of interconnectedness of humans and nature, much like artists’ work is an intimate part of them. In these experiences my work is rooted.

Through sensitive and careful observation, I render forest floors and forgotten re-wilded corners of our world in graphite and pen and ink, weaving in folklore and ancient mythologies hoping to create a bridge between the present and eras long-forgotten. Graphite and ink are my favorite materials because they are from the very earth, and with them depths of tone are achievable that mirror depths found between layers of leaves and twigs on the forest floor. These ranges of tone also speak to the layers of dark and light in ancient mythologies. Finding reprieve in the forest is not dissimilar to finding meditation in my work, and responding to how a flaw in a graphite pencil may leave a different mark on the paper is analogous to stepping cautiously over a downed tree in a familiar path.