I’m Steel Here

The above title for my first one-artist show isn’t so much a play on words as it is my very existence. When I’m sculpting, I prefer working alone. That means lifting, cutting, welding, re-cutting, re-welding seriously heavy and cumbersome steel. I’m not an artist who directs other workers to engineer and perform their designs (this is a not-uncommon process, with both famous and non-famous artists alike).

And as much as I physically would love to have someone else (at times) hustle the heavy-lifting, not really my thing.

It’s a process which brings me great joy and resolution, often when other things don’t make sense at all, i.e, politics, death of loved one, why my husband left dishes in the sink this morning. Really deep stuff.

My biggest art influences have been Abstract Expressionism, Pop and Minimalism, steel construct, Conceptualism and outspoken women. #MeToo should have been around when painters Joan Mitchell, Helen Frankenthaler, Lee Krasner and Zanne Hochberg, among so many others, were fighting to be heard.

Do you have any idea how hard it is to persevere when asses tell you shouldn’t be doing what you’re doing?  Anybody identify with that? Probably. Easier said than done to say fuck ‘em, and these women did just that.

And their works are palpably just as strong (often more so) than the guys like Jackson Pollock who hogged all the attention and entree.

Feminist renegade Barbara Kruger (who was one of my advisors at CalArts) is a great symbol of fighting status quo, also. She’s an inspiring, unapologetic leveler of what I consider to be genius social commentary.

My joyous physical influences are more obvious in the assemblage nature of David Smith, Mark di Suvero and Louise Nevelson, but language remains a major and soulful finish to all my pieces.

In many ways:

My favorite nervy interaction when I had a traditional gallery space on Palm Canyon, in downtown Palm Springs, was when a older guy (my age) walked in. He was from Phoenix, wore an expensive golf shirt.

He called me over to a sculpture I’d made for a previous collection.

In my best sales-boy parlance, I said, “How can I help you?”

“This one,” he said, pointing to “I Lost My Virginity at 17 to Both a Man and a Woman.”

“This is is the ugliest piece of shit I’ve ever seen,” he barked. “but the welds are great, how did he do them?”

I looked at him with a smile, which was genuine.

“Well, I’m actually a decent welder, it’s something I’ve done my whole life.”

“Oh, man,” he faltered, “I didn’t mean to…I didn’t know…”

“No worries, I said,” trying to make him feel better. “Everyone’s entitled to an opinion.”

“Thank you.”

“And that pastel is just darling on you.”