Oaxaca Valley and Off-Kilter Sanctuary Series

2006-2007 

The work in this series is from the time immediately following my MFA program at California College of the Arts.  Upon completing that program, I was awarded a grant from The Center for Art and Public Life at CCA to teach a special workshop to youth artists at the Casa de Cultura (House of Culture) in Tlacolula, Oaxaca, Mexico. While living outside of Oaxaca City, I documented my immediate surroundings. I was particularly interested in the rural families who created bricks and tiles from the soil on their property.  I was fascinated to see families living with their land, and creating products from the soil at their feet. It was a true privilege to witness as a visitor.

Peppered throughout this series are also works inspired by my environs in Southwest Michigan near where I grew up and the odd little garden behind my first apartment with my now husband Shamont Hussey in Oakland. Shamont and I lived in a tiny studio in Downtown Oakland, and my “studio” was a small IKEA table in our kitchen.  Despite the cramped quarters, it was a time of great artistic growth for me.  Being constrained to only working with watercolor made my mark-making and understanding of transparency improve in leaps and bounds. This work also forced me to plan my paintings in a way I don’t have to when working in acrylic.  I remember spending several days mapping out the shapes in pencil before introducing color.