As an artist, writer, and educator, I have always been interdisciplinary and experimental in my teaching and creative research, mixing visual and literary media, making and thinking, art and philosophy. Deeply attracted to psychology, I attend to the individual subject as they relate to others and the world. My philosophy PhD focused on theories of self-consciousness and the formation of the self, and included psychological self-awareness as a topic of investigation. As I transitioned into visual art these same themes manifested in my artwork: the differences between sensation, perception, and conception; the connection of self to others and world; the relationship between internal and external environments; and the relationship between representation and direct experience.
My artistic practice is hybrid and experiential, conceptual and intuitive, extending across traditional media boundaries. The work has taken the form of scripted narrative video, site-specific photographs, hand-embroidered canvases, illustrated maps, artist books, performative and relational projects, meditation, and critical essays about other artists. Whatever form it takes, my work examines the intersections between art and language, thought and experience, humans and the surrounding landscape. I’m curious about the way we map our perception of the world around us by the language and images we attribute it, and what roles our thoughts and emotions have in how we understand our experience.
In recent years I have focused my attention to the ways the body and mind function as an integrated whole, increasingly incorporating mindfulness (present-moment nonjudgmental awareness) into my studio and classroom. This focus came to light when I shadowed a team of cognitive neuroscientists as they developed an fMRI study on semantic processing. After collecting MRI images of my own brain as one of the study’s test subjects, I began drawing back into the brain imagery to represent what I felt was missing. Namely, the way the mind shapes the brain, how the objective relates to the subjective, and how science and emotion coexist.
Along this vein, during 2015 I completed a three-part intensive teacher-training program in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) at the Center for Mindfulness at University of Massachusetts Medical School, the same program founded by Jon Kabat-Zinn, physician and author of Full Catastrophe Living. This training stresses the powerful influence of awareness and embodied consciousness to helping us respond to stressful events in our lives, and applies both to my creative practice and my teaching. I’m excited to explore what roles contemplative practices can have in higher education and contemporary art.
You can view most of my Projects and Writings on this website. But as a place to start, if you want to hear me discussing a few of my projects, I draw your attention to a recent MN Originals feature and a separate interview for The Believer Magazine Logger (both also accessed via the Biography page).
If you want to start with my art, I suggest the following works:
Are you there, Guanyin?, multimedia sound installation, 2013, commissioned for the Minneapolis Institute of Arts (MIA).
Conversation Portraits: For the One Who…., relational performance, 2014, a seven-month-long project at The Soap Factory.