Artist Statement

I am an image maker and storyteller who is intensely aware of place. I studied with Beaumont Newhall at The University of New Mexico in the 1980s, falling in love with photographs made by government survey photographers like Carleton Watkins and Timothy O’Sullivan. As I photographically chronicle the State and National Parks, I retrace the path taken by the women in my family: my grandmother and her daughters, my mother and her sister, who abandoned by their husband and father, traveled alone from the Midwest to the West Coast in the 1930s. I document the vistas on my own journey West, with memories of the historic images bequeathed by Beaumont Newhall, and those of my family’s faded snapshots, pasted into albums whose spines are now broken and flaked with age. 

Every Westward journey is complicated by past visions of Manifest Destiny. I absorb the geographies I pass through, informed by my knowledge of the savage experiences of the Native inhabitants of these lands, and infused with a sense of the longing my ancestors felt as they made their way during the Great Depression. My emotions are woven into narratives complicated by my own passage on modern highways, through land crowded with subdivisions and fast-food chains that smother the historic and disappear the past. I have turned my attention to the wildness that remains in the nation’s parks to observe how climate change has created a new landscape. My current work is the result of my decades-long recording of western landscapes through the lens of my camera, and the accompanying presentiment that the West would someday be destroyed by fire.  The title of my most recent series, WildFire Prophecies: Lands in The Public Trust, is inspired by the foreboding sense that we now may be witnessing the ancient prophecy that in the final apocalypse, the world will be destroyed by fire.  

Artist Bio

My work in photography and video has been awarded two National Endowment for the Arts Awards and three regional, National Endowment for the Arts Awards. These include: National Endowment for the Arts Individual Award, New  GenresWashington D.C. (1995);  and National Endowment for the Arts Individual Award, Photography, Washington DC, (1990).  NEA/Jerome Foundation Award, Video Production, Minneapolis, MN, (1993);  NEA/Rockefeller Foundation Award, Interdisciplinary Arts, Intermedia Arts, Minneapolis, Minnesota, (1988); and NEA/Arts Midwest Award, Photography,  Minneapolis, Minnesota, (1987).

Additional awards include a Seattle Arts Commission "Public Works" Award, (2010); Grand Festival Prize, Kiss The Boys and Make Them Die, IMAGES: Festival of Independent Film and Video, Film Board of Canada, Montreal, Canada; Directors AwardKiss The Boys and Make Them Die, Black Maria Film Festival, Los Angeles, CA; Juror’s Choice, Kiss The Boys and Make Them Die, Three Rivers Arts Festival, Pittsburgh, PA; First Place Best Experimental Work, Eugene, Oregon, Jurors Award; MIRACLE, Iowa City International Short  Documentary Festival, Iowa City, IA; and Best Audience Award, Introducing the Stumptown Shooters, Shorts: Iowa City International Documentary Festival, Iowa City, IA.  

Selected exhibitions include:  Tisch School of the Arts, New York University, New York, NY; Nathan Cummings Foundation, New York, NY; The Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC; The Corcoran Gallery, Washington DC; The Harvard Film Archive, Cambridge, MA;  The Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago; Center for Creative Photography, Tucson; The American Museum of Art, Minneapolis, MN; Houston Center for Photography, Houston,TX; GrinnellCollege, Grinnell, IowaCamerawork, San Francisco, CA;  The Henry Gallery, Seattle, WA; Art Basel: An International Exhibition, Miami Beach, FL; Center for Creative Photography, Tucson, Arizona; Center for Photography at Woodstock, Woodstock, NY;  The Robert Menchal Gallery, Light Work, Syracuse, New York; Ogden Museum of Southern Art, New Orleans, LA; Bocorv Gallery, Tel Aviv, Israel; University of Leeds, Leeds, England; Hong Kong Arts Center, Wanchai, Hong Kong; Mediopolis, The 45th Berlin International Film and Video Festival;  Maladjustment, Lincoln Theatre, Boston, MA; Blue Sky Gallery, Portland, OR; Ellis Island Museum, Ellis Island, New York, NY; TIAA/CREF Collection, Kansas City, MO. Grinnell College, Grinnell, Iowa.

Publications include:  Picturing the Family: Media, Narrative,Memory, Bloomsbury Publishers,London, Ed. Joanne Leal, 2018; Howthe Past Shapes Modern Photography,, TimeMagazine, Curated by Deborah Willis, 2014; The Living and The Dead: The Neapolitan Cult of the Skull, 2010, University of Chicago Press; Here Is New York: A Democracy of Photography, 2002; Harper’s Magazine, 2001; Contact Sheet #110, Detained In Purgatory, Light Work, 2000; Lesbian Art In America, Rizzoli Press, 2000; Art, Document, Market, Science: Photography’s Multiple Roles, Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago, 1998; Reframing’s: New Feminist Photographies, Temple University Press, 1996.  Video Works are represented by the Video Data Bank, Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL.