ARTIST STATEMENT: "Where did this piece come from? - The piece started when I was born" - Ursula Scherrer
Art is personal and an attempt to reach beyond. As such, my work is an exploration and expression of my inner worlds as they interact with the outer world, through different visual media. It unfolds with my life experiences, progresses as I learn, and changes as my perspectives shift. As I consider beauty; as I contemplate the dreamlike vastness of the desert; as I fight for social justice - my practice evolves. At different times, art may serve the purpose of silent contemplation and inner reflection or it may aim to provoke a debate or call to action.
I am currently interested in exploring themes of freedom, identity, memory, and truth on a personal and socio-political level, and in telling stories contained in single images. Stylistically, I am pushing further into abstraction and am inspired by light and shadow, shapes and angles, and the interplay of lines and vast swaths of color.
Through painting, drawing, photography, and mixed media, my work spans a spectrum from documenting and commenting on observed scenes and settings to abstract, surreal expressions that are not bound by the restrictions of the physical world. While inspiration may come from a world event or perceived circumstances, I tend to conjure sceneries from my mind's eye, create portraits of imaginary people, or make compositions of shapes and light to convey my underlying idea - be that a story, a political statement, or a truth to express.
For instance, I painted a portrait of an imaginary 'Afghan Boy' in 2009 during the US War in Afghanistan. The face is defined with dark lines and a frank gaze outward while he is suspended in a diffuse background of smokey shadow and poppies dripping like blood. In this moment, with a little patch of yellow hope in the righthand corner, his fate is still uncertain. Revisiting it now I think of other children in America and abroad for whom I wonder:
If we play hide and seek enough you will survive.
If I teach you to run can I keep you alive?
The initial impulse for painting ‘North South’ came from an article that mentioned a building in the Korean Joint Security Area with a door to the North and a door to the South which is the designated location for talks should both parties wish to participate. The painting’s dreamlike nature rather than realistic landscape lifts it out of the concrete single example to stand for a greater truth: the idea of entering into dialog from different sides, each party needing to make a decision to enter and engage, and the symbolism of open doors.
In ‘Any Day Now’ (currently at the Brooklyn Museum) I pushed the abstraction further for a vision of imprisonment that, paired with the title, puts it in a historic context of uncertain lengthy sentences, mass incarceration, and the greater idea of freedom within and outside of the prison system.
Desert Moon 2016 acrylic on canvas 6' x 4' An abstract desert view. The corresponding poem was first published by Spillwords Press. http://spillwords.com/desert-moon/
Afghan Boy 2009 acrylic on canvas A frank gaze outward but suspended in a diffuse background of smokey shadow and poppies dripping like blood. In this moment, with a little patch of yellow hope, his fate is still uncertain.
Any Day Now 2017 acrylic on canvas A vision of imprisonment that paired with the title puts it in a historic context of uncertain lengthy sentences, mass incarceration, and the greater idea of freedom within and outside of the prison s
Rise 2017 acrylic on paper The word spoken in protest / wiped from record / not wiped from memory / in stillness and strength / can rise again
Fortress 2016 acrylic on paper Inspired by a momentary feeling and love for the use of yellow. When I see it now I hear the song: "In time the Rockies may crumble, Gibraltar may tumble. They're only made of clay"
Dune I digital photograph A detail captured in a vast desert landscape. A composition of shadows, shapes, and the division of space.
Taken at White Sands National Monument in New Mexico
Triptych: White Morning Light digital photographs Observing the quality of light. Telling stories of early mornings.
Triptych: Museum 2017 digital photographs A reminder to not get distracted by the art on the wall.
Taken at the Brooklyn Museum in New York
Untitled (Ink Sketch I) ink on cardboard Experimenting with abstraction. Lines
Untitled (Ink Sketch II) ink on cardboard Shapes and fragments of self re-forming into the strange and sometimes scary people we encounter in dreams
Portrait of an Anonymous Woman charcoal, graphite on paper