Fairy Tale Series Statement
As a child in the 1920s, my father saved his lunch money to purchase, for the then princely sum of thirteen dollars, a long-coveted copy of Howard Pyle’s Book of Pirates. During my own childhood getting to look at the fearsome illustrations was a treat that involved washed hands and the comfort of my father’s lap. As my father shared the stories, I always asked and was always astonished by his response to my question: “Were they real?”
“Yes, yes they were,” he told me.
On Saturday trips to the library my sister my often took out one of the 14 Wizard of Oz books, beautifully illustrated by W.W. Denslow. Sadly I was too young to read them and my sister didn’t offer, so I made up my own world from the pictures.
Growing up in a family of avid readers, I had the characters of L. Frank Baum, the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen as food for my imagination. These same stories have been the inspiration for a series of paintings, prints, books and sculptures that I have been working on for the past several years.
While a student at Parsons, I worked in the Art, Prints and Photographs Division of the New York Public Library. Climbing the stone steps and passing between the carved lions was like stepping through a gate that gave me access to such books as the Gutenberg Bible, early Warhol folios, Japanese pillow books and a full set of Audubon’s hand tinted Birds of America. It gave me a love and respect for the form.
Later, as a young mother, I began creating collages, collecting material until I could find time to work. The Japanese-style books were designed to open so that the pages interrelated depending on how many were seen at a time. The first of them was shown at the Islip Art Museum in 1991. Many of my works are intended to opened and handled.
I began my Fairy Tale Series during a monoprint workshop in Philadelphia with Christine Staughton. Rapunzel Writes a Letter is a series of prints reflecting on how Rapunzel spent her time in the tower. As part of this exploration I have created work based on The Wizard of Oz, Hansel and Gretel, Little Red Riding Hood. Portraits of the Witch and functional sculptures -- Ogre Vases – are loosely based on a royal family of ogres. I am currently beginning a series of Alice in Wonderland assemblage boxes.
Creating artwork has always been for me, something like making a jigsaw puzzle. What will fit here; how will this work, and how does this placement affect the aesthetics and the meaning of a piece? It’s what I find exciting when I work. I work with fairy tales because they excite my imagination. They offer meaning on so many different levels. They call up memories from earliest experience and yet they offer a view to the human experience at a universal level.
Sketch for Wizard of Oz Trading Cards