My life has always revolved around the arts, first with a focus on music and dance and in the last 28 years on visual arts. I attended undergraduate and graduate school in music at the University of Southern California and then continued graduate studies at UC Berkeley in performance practice on harpsichord and early piano; a way of studying appropriate interpretation of music according to practice of the time in which it was written rather than with a 20th century view. Following school I taught music at CalTech and UC Davis, gave recitals and started my own music agency for touring classical musicians in the US and Europe.
In 1990 I returned to school at UC Berkeley in the art studio department where I studied with Wendy Sussman, John Zurier and Robert Hartman. There I found my subject in abstracted landscape; one which indicates sensation of place rather than realistic description. I have had the opportunity to travel widely due to my husband’s profession as a scientist and my work is often inspired by these trips—such as the steep vertical mountains of the Matterhorn range or the silent sea landscapes of the Swedish archipelago. These landforms are dramatic contrasts to the softer hills of the California Bay Area, where I live and work, and provide the dramatic landscape that I prefer.
My musical background has an enormous influence on my visual art mainly in understanding abstraction but also in naming my paintings. For instance, the “Wanderung” and “Naturblick” series are inspired by the German Romantic tradition in both art and music. Like song cycles my pictures each have a group name and individual titles. I attribute their scale to the Mahler symphonies I was listening to at the time. The “Inverness” paintings are also titled like a multi-movement composition. The individual titles of these paintings are musical tempos and descriptive terms that can be interpreted as the sense of pace or mood with which to view the pictures. For me, the musical allusions in my paintings enhance the feeling of abstraction.
“Archipelago” (2007-2008), which is based on the Swedish archipelago in the Baltic Sea, continues the direction begun in “Letters from Iceland”. The paintings, named for particular islands, are inspired by the quiet sound and color of the seascape at the outer edge of the archipelago where one sees mostly the sea and sky. This series also includes a group of seven truncated obelisks which are human height and are painted; they fall somewhere between painting and sculpture.
“Letters from Iceland” (2004-2005) is a series inspired by my travels to Iceland in the summer of 2004. This series marked a shift in my painting as the works rely on color, tone and texture to evoke a sensation of place and move away from the more recognizable figurative representations of landscape apparent in my earlier work.
Aside from “Letters from Iceland,” there are five earlier series of paintings: “The Lycian Shore” (2004) “Wanderung” (The Journey) and “Naturblick” (Glimpse of Nature, 1998-2002), “Inverness” (California, 1999-2000), “At Sea” (2001-2002), and “Landscape and Memory” (2001-2002). In each piece I want to recreate the connection I feel between reality and abstraction in these locations; these works are intended to stimulate the sensations of landscape and one’s solitary place within it.