The intention of my work is to catalyze thoughts and ideas and then provoke the sharing of these thoughts, ideas, stimulating inquiry and knowledge. My strongest conviction is in the power of art, its subjectivity as safe space, and its ability to rebuild community, starting with basic connections to the other. The artwork, if it is successful, opens a space for dialogue to be ignited and to be continued.
The dialogue series consists of multiple parts. All of the series paintings are obscure and abstract. The ambiguity intends to connect all to the universal elements shared by humanity. I want my work to speak to the “everyman.” What I intend for my viewer to see is what she/he wants to see. And hopefully, this will spur dialogue between viewers as they are pushed inside and outside of my works.
On a larger scale, this dialogue will contribute in a small way to rebuilding social capital, or rebuilding the sense of the other.
I am most interested in using my artistic abilities to build visual awareness. The theory of "looking vs. seeing" has influenced most of my work. I use photographs to document growing ideas. My contribution to society is to first encourage people to "see" their social and physical environment, both the good and the bad. Then encourage them to change their landscape, and their community, for the better.
Currently, I am working on two series. The dialogue series as I mentioned above and the gate series. The gate series is something that has been brewing since 2002. Studs Terkel once wrote that "Chicago is the most segregated city in America." Dr. Martin Luther King preached that the "City of Chicago is the most segregated, racist, and hateful cities" he visited. Unfortunately, these lines still exist, albeit invisible but socially well constructed. In this series, I question the "invisible" lines. I do not think they are invisible at all. One marking that exists in every "community area" are the gates and fences that have been constructed by either the residents living within or the city itself. It leads one to question many things about those living in a specific neighborhood just by the tone of the gates seen. Gates (or lack of) are a visual element of our shared landscape that bring out questions of space, socioeconomic status, inclusive or exclusivity, safety, equality, ethnicity, divisions/differences, and power. In this drawing series, I am spending time in each of Chicago's "community areas," photographing the common thread that I see. Whether these drawings are accurate portrayals of a community or not, it is important to note that each image is from an outsider's perspective entering a community. The visual impression made on an outsider (myself) may be informative to residents living in these communities. Is their visual environment reflecting the truth and identity of the community? Again, the intent of my work is to begin a dialogue through the safe space that art can provide.
Reference to "social capital": Robert Putnam, political and social science educator, wrote “To build bridging social capital requires that we transcend our social and political and professional identities to connect with people unlike ourselves...I challenge America’s artists, the leaders and funders of our cultural institutions as well as ordinary Americans: Let us discover new ways to use the arts as a vehicle for convening diverse groups of fellow citizens... Art manifestly matters for its own sake, far beyond the favorable effect it can have on rebuilding American communities. That said, art is especially useful in transcending conventional social barriers.” Bowling Alone, Robert Putnam, 2000
Education School of the Art Institute, Chicago, IL Masters of Art in Art Education, May 2004
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI Bachelors in Literature, Science and the Arts, May 2001 Political Science and History of Art Concentration
Lorenzo de Medici, Florence, Italy Study Abroad Program, Art History & Cultural Immersion, 2000
Marwen Art Fair, Susan and Steven Berkowitz Gallery, Marwen Foundation. Chicago, IL. October 2007
University of Michigan Alumni Show, Madron, LLC, Chicago, IL, September 2007
Neighborhood Portraits, Demitasse Cafe, Chicago, IL, September 2007
Chicago + Urban, Demitasse Cafe, Chicago, IL. March 2007
Marwen Art Fair, Susan and Steven Berkowitz Gallery, Marwen Foundation. Chicago, IL. October 2006
Those Who Do, Teach, Susan and Steven Berkowitz Gallery, Marwen Foundation. Chicago, IL. February 2006
Painting Department Showcase, Fine Arts Building-North Campus, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI. November 2000
Lectures and Publications
Therapeutic Activities for Children and Teens Coping with Health Issues, by Robyn Hart and Judy Rollins, illustrations and activity idea contributor, 2011.
"A Modern Wing Celebration," Art Institute of Chicago 2010 Curriculum Fair, presenter, April 29, 2010
"Brave New Worlds", contributor to research conducted by author Eric Booth for Chamber Music, vol. 26. No. 4 July/August 2009, p.92-95.
“The Politics of Creativity - Artists and Educators as Leaders” Presented by the Teaching Artist Collective and The Center for Teaching Excellence at Columbia College, October 30, 2007
NAEA Conference Presenter: "The Challenges of Maintaining a High Quality Arts Education Program," Marwen, 2006
Teaching Experience Snow City Arts Foundation, Chicago Street Level Youth Media, Chicago Nicholson Technology Academy, Chicago Public School Hyde Park Arts Center, Chicago The Smart Museum, Chicago North Kenwood Academy, Chicago Public School Akiba Schecter, Chicago Private School Marwen, Chicago Ralph J. Bunche Elementary School, Detroit Public School Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago The British School of Chicago
Related Work Experience Coordinator of Studio Programs, Marwen, Chicago Heidelberg Project, Board Member, Detroit Open Roads NPO, Volunteer, Chicago Director of Alumni Relations, Francis W. Parker School, Chicago Development Coordinator, University of Chicago, Chicago
Memberships Society for Arts Healthcare National Art Education Association The Art Institute of Chicago