Seeing Stone is a journey of exploration that represents a body of work inspired by forms and shapes in nature. Through detailed observations of my lifelong places, I unite stone as object, and stone’s relationships to the natural environment. By pairing photography and sculpture, these time based images and stone carvings, play upon spacial relationships intending to draw the viewer in. It’s a personal narrative, depicting the power, calm, and permanence of stone.
In my recent work, visualizing place becomes part of my sculpture. A carving of a vessel takes me on an inward journey navigating oceans and eroded facades etched in lichen stories that note the passage of time. I study stone as I would maps, and ponder artifact-like rocks—fragmented and tossed by the tumble of the ocean’s ebb and flow making lasting impressions in my photos of stone against a blue sky. Bound together by fate, they stand on their own, central to my theme.
My stone work is carved by hand in a steady rhythm of tool to stone, a challenging technique that enables me to bond with a piece over long periods of time. Sometimes years. When its form emerges, history begins anew. Working with multiple stone pieces, I imagine how they connect in color and texture, allowing the placement of objects to redefine permanent qualities. Sometimes a polished finish brings the coloration of a piece to life, or a self-portrait becomes part of my setting. On boulders by the ocean, or sheltering in cave-like structures, my feet intuitively absorb undulating rocky shorelines connecting destinations. I sit quietly allowing stone to inhabit my space.
Nature crosses time and mediums ~ These photographs were taken during the summer of 2014 and 2019 on Peddocks Island, one of the larger islands in Boston Harbor Islands National and State Park, Massachusetts. Self-Portrait at Big Rock, and Big Rock with Beach Grass, depicts a large iconic puddingstone rock located on the shore of Middle Head’s center drumlin on Peddocks. I paired these 14″ x 11″ metal prints with Leaf Bowl, a hand carved work in Vermont marble. Inside the bowl-like sculpture, rests a small green carving of a leaf shape. Adding that touch of green brought these works together in a very unique way—stones permanent qualities, influenced by organic forms in nature, the beach grass communicating the passage of time. I’m particularly drawn to the Big Rock (named by us island kids), having spent so much time climbing it in my youth.
This rock formation has been a recurring theme in my work. These glacial boulders set high on the bluffs overlooking Rockport’s bustling fishing port to the left, and vast ocean views on three sides, have always had special meaning for me since childhood visits with my family.
Choosing this powerful shot of the Headlands under stormy skies to be present with my small but mighty sculpture, Shelter, seemed a perfect pairing. Sourced from India, the coloration in this wonderstone is quite striking. The niche-like opening with the little figure was added once the shape was fully roughed out. When the hand carved process was complete, the final polishing highlighted the unusual markings and details of the stone. The direct carving technique contains no preliminary model work, just the stone as it presents itself in guiding my vision. Shelter reminds me of the rocky nook at the Headlands which I began sculpting over Covid-19 while working outside at my home studio.
The Voyage was the final stone carving completed just prior to my exhibition. Over the summer of 2020, while not able to get to my destinations, I went on an inward journey creating this vessel-like sculpture as a personal voyage. In this combination of stones, I’m on an unknown journey with a passenger (me), represented by the smaller stone. The base of the vessel has equal strength giving the illusion of a boat in water (note the white of the soapstone as sea foam). The pairing of The Voyage with Back Beach Surf, plays upon my encounters with the ocean and rocks, capturing the feeling of water and motion.
Photography ~ Always a camera present, my family documented their travels wherever life took them. I’ve fond memories of their early model cameras—Brownie and Polaroid for instant pictures, among others. My dad also made Super 8 films. Slide shows and short movies became part of family gatherings. I recall my first film camera—a Honeywell Pentax 35mm, and tend to think my interest in pictures was due to a family that loved adventuring outdoors. Perhaps a bit young to fully realize the impact their photography would have in my own work today, as painters, sculptors, and photographers among us, we shared an interest in art early on at these specific locations along the coast of New England.
Stone and photography inspire my stories. Thanks for being part of my journey.
**My Solo Exhibition, Seeing Stone, took place March 5 – 28, 2021, at Galatea Fine Art, Boston, MA, with a reception and Zoom interview held in the gallery on March 5.