In her novel The Abyss, Marguerite Yourcenar quotes an alchemical saying: obscurum per obscurius; ignotum per ignotius, which roughly translates, proceed toward the obscure and unknown through the still more obscure and unknown.
All my work begins with my dreams, recorded in sketchbooks with narratives and drawings. These dreams are often prophetic, telling me where I need to travel to work — to make one world, one cosmology, where the seen and the unseen co-exist.
Once my dreams have led me to a site, I develop my pieces slowly, carrying them back and forth between sites, cross-pollinating ideas, locations, and subject matter — all united in the studio. Time is no longer linear, but elastic, and circular.
In Italy I have worked in many closed mithraeums (the man-made caves of the astrological cult of Mithras), the Roman Colosseum’s hypogeum, Etruscan ruins, the temple at Gabii, in churches and archeological sites throughout southern Italy (especially in Matera, Alberobello, Otranto, and Paestum) in Sicily, and in numerous catacombs – all closed to the public. Outside of Italy, my dreams have led me to Mayan sites and abandoned silver mines in Mexico, to the top of the Parthenon in Greece, down into the ancient, abandoned quarry on the island of Paros (famous for its translucent marble), and in Central Turkey, to the cryptic frescoes within monasteries and underground cities in Kapadokya.
The catacombs — my primary focus — are silent mazes, cold and dank. Skeletons, nearly two thousand years old, embrace one another in their tombs, and, if disturbed, would turn to dust. Paintings and carvings form mysterious, iconographic hybrids of an emerging spiritual language. Worms with millipede-like legs coexist with 10-inch long phosphorescent mantises that give off an eerie green light. Blind translucent spiders the size of my hand make clicking sounds on the tunnel walls while aphids skitter by the thousands up stalactites.
In addition to my “dream-books” and paintings, I have built a library of sketchbooks that form an archive of images from museums, archeological sites, and landscapes. Using these combined tools I want my search to be a gift that visualizes the most arcane cosmology, where intimate secrets lead to endless questions and possibilities.
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