Story Skin
Mixed media on wood and paper, 2008-2009

For five years, I have used drawing with my non-dominant hand as a way of bypassing my censoring, thinking mind to create a spontaneous, unregulated space of exploration. In this process, I learn something about myself I did not know; I learn about secrets I want to keep hidden, and I answer questions that haunt my unconscious.

Frequently, this creative dialogue tries to balance the inner experience of being a woman, with the physical aspects of being female, and the cultural dialogue around femininity in the 21st century. Through line, I negotiate the edges of my identity.

This work was made during my transition into motherhood. Forked lines are labeled ‘Eves’; lines that go behind those Eves are ‘Liliths’. These designations inspire an investigation into ancestry and the matrix of genes, culture, personality, and physical form that shape who we are. In my ninth month of pregnancy, I needed to reconcile the beauty and power of bringing a girl child into the world with historical and uncomfortable constructions that come with being female.  What legacy (or definitions) would she inherit?

The panel entitled “Stretched To Find Beginning and Wide-Mouthed End” is the story of the birth of my oldest daughter, using the graphic structure for diagramming sentences. After this life-changing event, I came away profoundly disappointed in language - our spoken language does not prepare us to communicate the most important experiences of our lifetime. I felt unprepared before and unable after to truly share with others what had transpired. This drawing questions the primacy of the narrated birthstory in words, and calls the body to bring forth its own language, complete with subjects, prepositions, verbs, and gerunds built from the evolving organs, bones, and tendons of flesh.