One day while painting a stag beetle, I caught myself doodling some chromosomes in the suggestive stains on the surrounding paper. While eye-to-eye with this animal I was simultaneously aware of the invisible genetic codes coiling in its cells. It was as if I’d merged an old artist-naturalist’s sensibility with a contemporary awareness of genetics, and this was the beginning of Genomes and Daily Observations, an ongoing series of works on paper. Washing the paper with natural dyes, I “pull” forms out of suggestive stains, making little squiggles or blots into imaginary biological shapes, often resembling insect parts or cellular organelles, a process I find playfully akin to evolutionary invention in nature itself. In each drawing symbols of the genetic code play a part in some way—such as the DNA double helix, strands of chromosomes, or the ATGC sequence of chemicals that make up the genome (I’ve used actual genetic sequences of animals, found on the NCBI and other genetic database websites). I present the drawings within the context of an installation, with a grid of drawings, an old artist-naturalist’s desk piled with specimens and sketches, and a mirror imprinted with a section of the human genome (from the lens of the human eye). My hope is that the work suggests questions, such as: how has the knowledge of genetics altered our perception of the natural world? How do we reconcile personal reverence for life with scientific information? Does the mapping of the genome unravel mysteries or actually create more?
Artist Bio / CV
Selected Solo Exhibitions
United States Botanic Garden, Washington, D.C. 2007 / McLean Project for the Arts, McLean, VA. 2007 / Morris Museum of Art, Augusta, GA. 2007 / Eleanor D. Wilson Museum, Roanoke, VA. 2006 / Second Street Gallery, City Center for Contemporary Art, Charlottesville, VA. 2004 / Cumberland Gallery, Nashville, TN. 1998, 2000, 2003 / Fernbank Museum of Natural History, Atlanta, GA. 2003 / Grover/Thurston Gallery, Seattle, WA. 2003 / Gescheidle Gallery, Chicago, IL. 2002 / Brown Gallery, Duke University, Durham, NC 2002 / Catherine Smith Gallery, Appalachian State University, Boone, NC. 2001 / The National Academy of Sciences, Washington, D.C. 2000 / The Spartanburg County Museum of Art, SC. 2000 / Carroll Reece Museum, Johnson City, TN.1999 / The Carnegie (Visual and Performing Arts Center), Covington, KY. 1999 / 1912 Gallery, Emory and Henry College, Emory, VA. 1999 / Peninsula Fine Arts Center, Newport News, VA. 1998 / Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art (SECCA), Winston-Salem, NC. (Two-person show) 1995
Smithsonian Institution, D.C./ Eleanor B. Wilson Museum, Roanoke, VA. / The University of Virginia’s College at Wise, VA. / Tennessee State Museum, Nashville, TN. / Carroll Reece Museum, Johnson City, TN. / Spirit Square Center for the Arts, Charlotte, NC. / Medical College of Virginia Hospitals, Richmond, VA. / Woodson Art Museum, WI. / The Taubman Museum of Art, Roanke, VA. / Evergreen Conference Center Hotel, Atlanta, GA. / Bank of America (Southeastern Collection),Charlotte, NC. / BF Goodrich, Charlotte, NC. / Chattanooga Conference Center, Chattanooga, TN. / The National Academy of Sciences, D.C.
Selected Awards and Honors
2007 George Sugarman Foundation Grant
2002 Artist-in-Residence, Centrum Arts and Creative Education, Port Townsend, WA. / 2001 Fellowship Finalist, Virginia Commission for the Arts / 2000 Anselm Atkins Award, The Hambidge Center for Creative Arts, GA. / 1999 Fellowship, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Sweet Briar, VA. / 1996 Individual Artists Grant Finalist, National Endowment for the Arts