The project, a tolerable balance of intolerable things, began with the questioning of my own values while living alongside the increasing homeless crisis. I could not reconcile how I could pursue my life, as well as, teach my child integrity and morality, while homeless encampments, pan handling, and extreme poverty are at my doorstep. Through this work I focus on social injustice and inequity, wealth and poverty disparity, and themes of mental health and the human spirit. Except for a few missteps, we all could be caught up in the downward spiral that has overtaken much of the homeless population. In the Bay area, this population grew by 40% in the last two years, most of whom are living in temporary shelters. All the while, home prices have soared to almost unattainable heights. On top of that, the lack of social equality continues to plague our nation. I am mobilized by the authoritative human spirit, which can be so cruel while feeling justified and righteous. I am moved to make work centered on the injustice I see. Being a witness, interpreting and reinterpreting societal conduct is a major thrust in this work. I am also inspired by the resilience of the human spirit, how you can lose everything and still go on.
I am encouraged by the optimism of the human spirit, those times at nadir when you can still see a cloud that speaks to you. I will not forget a conversation I had with Fred. He has been living on the streets of Oakland for years. He asked me if I thought he looked hungry. He did not. He was shirtless at the time and looked in shape and outwardly healthy. He then said, “Not everyone out here is in need.” He went on to tell me that he prefers the freedom this life offered. With this edification, I brought my work into the studio, creating temporary shelters that are more lyrical and poetic, exploring complex aspect of the human psyche around the idea of home and nostalgia. From the dollhouse schematic overlaid onto homeless encampments, to hybrid blanket-fort / temporary shelters, aspects of childhood and the developing conscious are also entangled in this subject.
This work is made using the historic photographic process called gum bichromate. This process uses layers of watercolor pigment in place of the silver or other heavy metals in more modern print processes. I am printing onto traditionally gessoed panel.