Five Questions Interview
Text of and link to interview by Laura Halligan, published in The Saratogian and The Troy Record in September 2018
Who are you?
I’m an artist and Albany native who has been exhibiting throughout the Hudson Valley and Capital Region for nearly 30 years. People who don’t get to galleries may have seen my work covering the walls of New World Home Cooking Co. in Saugerties throughout their first 20 years.
Also, with my husband, I’ve co-founded and operated two artisanal goat fromageries since 1990. The first was Nettle Meadow in Warrensburg, which we sold in 2005. We founded Domaine De Courval in Quebec in 2006 and recently sold that farm as well.
What inspires you as an artist?
The beauty, materials, and purposes of ancient artifacts from all over the world fascinate me. This dovetails with my work as a farmer and serious gardener. Humans have not changed much since we first appeared, and I look for the threads of continuity in our needs and concerns.
This search has assembled itself into a body of artwork I call The Remnants And Residents Of A Lost Sanctuary Of Aphrodite. The visual vocabulary of the work owes much to ancient artifacts, but the motives underlying each painting are both current and timeless: our need for sustenance, beauty, and grace; visions of women on their own terms.
What medium do you typically work in?
Different media for different subjects: the oil paintings are of still lifes, which in the context of the Sanctuary oeuvre are “offerings” of vessels or fruit, and also architectural details.
I also make hand-carved block prints, with and without ink. When they are un-inked, they are pressed deeply (called “embossing”) and the image is visible in low relief, like a sculpted panel. There are paper collages of female silhouettes, translucent paper mobiles that create ethereal forms such as a fish out of floating scales, and also artist’s books.
The category of artist’s books is quite broad, but I stick to the format we expect to see in a library, with some sense of narrative as one turns the pages, whether there are actually words involved or simply a series images.
You have a “secret show” coming up in Troy later this month - what can you share about that?
It’s a pop-up at a private party in a fabulous old factory space. The room is filled with smooth white columns and lends itself perfectly to an incarnation of the Lost Sanctuary.
What is your goal for the future?
The October goal is to complete the artist-made limited edition of a small cookbook, and then quickly bring it to a wider audience. The book is a distillation of innovative and efficient techniques and recipes I’ve evolved over the decades of keeping several balls in the air professionally while maintaining a commitment to eating nutrient-dense foods that are close to the earth and sourced in my immediate locale. Ideas I have never come across elsewhere which would have saved so much time if I had known them all in the beginning.
The majority of the book is text, but there are hand-carved, hand-colored images throughout. They carry tangential garden and philosophical notes, incorporated in graphic ways. The limited edition will be printed and assembled here in the studio.
Beyond that, I plan to stick to only one full-time career—artwork— and continue to develop the gardens and grounds of my lovely new property, with a long term goal of creating an outdoor sculpture park for works in stone by other artists.