As a child, opening a book was like entering another country, a new world filled with possibilities. I could see the world through the eyes of others in a rather transparent way. In Open Book /Enter Slowly I created a way for the world to see a view of me through my paintings.
For most of my career I have been known as a successful writer of short stories, plays, personal essays and novels. After 9/11 I lost words. Words could no longer effectively express my horror, fear, anger and profound sadness. I am a mostly self taught, intuitive painter who began painting as a way to rebuild my relationship with language. My influences include artists whose singular vision and daring, challenge me to create the kind of work that is relevant, timeless and takes risks. Miles Davis, Gavin Bryars, Romare Bearden, Rothko, Augusto Boal, Toni Morrison, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Paula Vogel, Marie Irene Fornes, Alighiero Boetti, John Cage, Maria Callas, Sisseretta Jones. These are all artists who fit this description.
The paintings on paper titled, There are Many Houses in My Tribe reference my growing up in several households in the same community. Although my moving from house to house daily was fluid in many ways, there were physical and invisible boundaries. The transient nature of home allowed me to adapt to many different lifestyles. I used paper for this body of work because it is portable and like the few possessions I moved from house to house can be moved quickly. Today when I enter a new apartment, the guest room of a friend, a hotel room or an artist colony residence (any temporary home) I am transformed. The rooms of my memory are imprinted on me and each room I enter becomes a space filled with possibility. Several of the paintings revisit a room in my memory as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Caribbean where I dreamed of being in other rooms, offices, hotels and luxury apartments. it was a time I was coming out in many areas of my life.
My relationship to language has been altered, by resisting the urge to rely on words to describe the visual narratives in the paintings.