// Artist Statement

I have always loved the music of João Gilberto, specifically the 1959 album, “Chega de Saudade” where I was first introduced to the word saudade which has no direct translation in English and therefore has the power to help shape eloquent thoughts about bittersweet emotions. Not limited to specific cultures, sadness and longing carry a substance that gives shapes to who and what we are- flawed and imperfect.

In my work, I examine the surreality of the “garden,” which exists as both natural and artificial. Instilling contradictory symbolism in unfamiliar imagery, the garden itself is an ironic place that symbolizes perfection and imperfection at the same time. I am particularly interested in the cultural constructs of gardens that must be seen in a broader sociological and political perspective, as well as the consideration of gardens as “neutral” or “pure,” devoid of political or professional interests. I regard the garden landscape as an analogy to drawing and to consciousness in that the garden is a locus of the human condition.

My current studio investigation considers what author, journalist, activist, and professor Michael Pollen describes as “messy places where the human and the natural come together." My drawings borrow the grammar of botany, garden architecture, and agriculture to create artworks that inspire saudade, a nostalgic longing to be near again to someone or something that has become distant or has been loved and then lost.