As a former architect, with both Bachelor and Master of Architecture degrees, I really loved the studio environment in college, designing and fabricating with scaled models. Many tiny models, in all stages of completion, littered my desk while other students created drawings galore. Even my drawings were three dimensional with objects projecting off the paper.
But after working in the field for over two decades, I walked away from an architecture career. I came to the realization that the world I wanted to design for was not one to live in, but one to dream in.
I took a leap and enrolled in a welding class in the sculpture department at our local art school in Baltimore, the Maryland Institute College of Art, and fell in love with steel, a medium that was so new to me. Working with steel can be loud, messy, and heavy. Not only did I want the process to be quieter; as someone always focused on the tiniest of details, my sculptures, made of a typically cold, hard material; to evoke a delicate elegance often appearing soft to the touch. I mostly use TIG welding, getting welds down to a 1/16 of an inch, and use silver soldering for softer metals. My choice of steel, most often associated with modern and sleek, produces effects similar to black and white photography. Shapes and textures are more noticeable in mostly monochromatic landscapes, enhancing the composition through simplified elements, creating a timeless and dramatic atmosphere. The minimal use of color, adding materials such as glass marbles, heat-treated copper, and my miniature paper books, introduces subtle visual surprises versus distracting the viewer.
My first step in a project is to break each object down to its bare geometries, turning it into a puzzle to be solved. My kit of parts used to solve this self-imposed puzzle includes off-the-shelf steel rods, blocks, and bars, plus found objects such as antique hardware, vintage keys, jewelry and watch parts, marbles, brass screws, and industrial components. Through textural changes, a simplified color palette, and shape altering, the familiarity of historic detailing is manipulated in an unexpected way.
Still, my work as a sculptor is highly informed by my architectural background. As a metal sculptor of vignettes, I make miniature worlds that evoke nostalgia with a modern twist. My inspirations range from vintage furniture to classic film, television, and literature. A common theme in my work is libraries and books. Libraries can be many places at once, one of mystery, fear, excitement, joy, sadness, or even punishment. Books provide a story of words while our own minds complete the visual picture. We are actively thinking. Nowadays, we hear opinions told to be taken as fact and our ability to process the bombardment of information is diminished.
Libraries are the opposite of all that noise, places of calm and travel beyond the wildest imagination. One of my sculptures is an interpretation of an ethereal scene in Wings of Desire, a movie based in post-war Berlin, with many scenes set in the Berlin State Library. Homer daydreams amongst dozens of glowing globes that have no demarcations, no boundaries. “The old man wonders why we cannot just have peace but always war. If he gives up, mankind won't have a storyteller, and humans will forget their childhood.” Libraries, although within enclosed physical spaces, they provide endless places for our minds to travel and concepts to learn.
Miniatures encourage taking a closer look, everything condensed within a focused field of vision. Just as when someone speaks softly or whispers, one must pay more attention and listen carefully. My vignettes tell a story and reveal secrets. Our own little world…just for a moment. Always an architect at heart, my art is still the built environment...only miniaturized.
I have a Bachelor of Science in Architecture from the University of Virginia and a Master of Architecture from the University of Pennsylvania.
I took a welding class and got involved in an annual group artist show - The Cigar Box Show. My architectural background, cigar box dioramas, and my new love of working with metal collided.
Three of my sculptures were included in the American Visionary Art Museum (AVAM) exhibit called YUMMM! The History, Fantasy, and Future of Food. One was my Champagne Bubble Chair, inspired by Russian Matryoshka Dolls, the 2014 annual Design Within Reach (DWR) design competition 2nd place winner.
In 2016, a travelling exhibit called Small Stories, 12 room cabinets showcasing 300 years of British history, came from London’s V & A Museum of Childhood to D.C.’s National Building Museum. Several artists were commissioned to create an accompanying Dream Room. My entry Mouseum in a Box, a miniature museum within the structure of museum walls, is now in the permanent collection of the National Building Museum.
A solo show, in a Hudson Valley gallery, was called Those Were the Days – Pop Icon TV Show Sets Reimagined. Included Archie and Edith’s Sitting Room, Julia’s Kitchen based on Julia Childs’ Cambridge kitchen and The Brady Stair in a Box.
The next solo show, in Tucson, AZ, Borrowed Time / Borrowed Books, included six vignettes depicting famous library scenes from television, film and literature: The Twilight Zone - Time Enough at Last; The Time Machine by H. G. Wells; Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury and later directed by Francois Truffaut; The Breakfast Club; All The President’s Men within the Library of Congress, and lastly, Wings of Desire.
My work has been included in several publications including JMore Magazine, MarthaStewart.com, and Baltimore Style Magazine.
Several group shows include Towson University Center of Fine Arts group show Extravagant Visions, Extraordinary Imaginings in 2018, Baltimore Office of Production in the Arts & Artscape - Dolphin Gallery group show Open During Construction also in 2018, and Vessels at Function Gallery in 2019.