My work is influenced by our 17-year involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan. Works prior to 2010, explored, from a more personal perspective, the themes of distance and loss as they related to American deployments to these theaters of war. I have had friends who have served, and my father and uncle were veterans not of current wars but of WWII. I was a young teen during Vietnam and raised in an anti-Vietnam War household, where my family lost friends and my father jobs because of his beliefs and intellectual commentary about Vietnam. He was conducting scholarly research on French colonialism and involvement in the hopes of writing a book on that futile occupation and war. After his death, I became a very young anti-war activist and continue to this day to do what I can, having been "reared" on the futility of war and the images on television and in print that were accessible, brutal at the time. The lies told for our involvement in Iraq were not at all dissimilar to those we heard for Vietnam. History continues to repeat itself in many ways. My artwork is a result of these experiences and commitments.
I have commented on the idea of military indoctrination that comes from the external socio-cultural arena and internal sources from inside the family. I also create work that addresses military-style violence within our culture.
While researching these ideas, I soon discovered toys for toddlers with weapon-like shapes and military and hunting camouflage patterns presented as "cool" and fashionable fabrics, clothing and accessories. These motifs are used on infant wear and diaper bags. These items seemed to underscore the notion that direct or subliminal ideas of militarism were alive and well through advertising and the development of commercial products, and were being marketed to parents of very young children. To emphasize the notion of indoctrination I mined the newborn state of life for inspiration to create objects that mimic manufactured products, but that fall within the realm of the absurd or surreal.
Most recently, materiality and in contrast, performance have taken center stage. Works since 2014 are made of surplus military trip wire produced for the Vietnam War. Gun powder is deployed in my two dimensional works of late. My hand intervenes and mingles amongst these materials of violence, and transforms them. They do not retain their primary purpose and have been rendered impotent. In 2016, my work become more interactive as my most extensive projects have taken place in public and include conversations regarding war and its costs both human and economic loss during the U.S. political convention weeks. The works are accompanied with video and sometimes written documentation.
My work continues to evolve but the themes of war and violence--domestic and that which we export around the world continue. Media may be mixed and paint and color are making a reappearance in my work. Themes are beginning to broaden and a counterpoint is starting to emerge.