The titles of my art give clues to the work. I probe individual identity and cultural ties, piece together fragments of text and figuration, and perpetuate a discourse about one’s place in the world.
My work begins with collecting newspaper and magazine articles, treasured mementos, and bits of cultural artifacts that address specific themes I wish to explore in more depth. I center my work around meaningful historic and current events. Selecting items gathered from various documentary sources, I arrange them in a sort of self-perpetuating dialogue, then collage them onto canvas, wood, or paper. Imagery evolves by adding and subtracting elements of found text - by painting, drawing, veiling, and scraping with oil, charcoal, chalks and wax. At the same time, I examine the nature of print media, how information is disseminated, what is revealed and what is concealed. I see how narratives can be created, implied, hidden, disguised. My ongoing process of layering and abrading words, images, and various ephemera reflect my deep interest in how we come to know history - how experiences submerge, resurface, and unravel over time.
In 1991 an IREX grant enabled me to travel to my ancestral homeland of Ukraine for the first time. This trip opened my eyes and soul to a long-suffering yet hopeful people, to a land beautiful but ravaged by the Soviet system. It was a turning point in my creative work and world view. A concern with the human condition – always at the heart of my art – took new form and urgency. Subsequent trips to Ukraine included a 1996 visit to the Chornobyl Zone, which left a lasting impression of nature’s power of reclamation and healing. Despite everything, even in the face of deception, destruction and loss, I saw nature regenerating life and creating anew. The curtains of trees, tangled branches, vines, nests, and animals enacting fable-like parables have become recurring motifs in my work.
Like many others, I have grown up in two cultures: the hereditary culture passed on and nurtured by my displaced post-World War II immigrant family; and the culture of the country in which I was born and raised, where I continue to live and work.
In my creative endeavors I strive to share my own particular cultural mix and, in so doing, touch the common core of all humanity. Whether solemn or comical, metaphoric or naturalistic, my art is meant to evoke a longing, express wonder and invite discourse.