Syracuse University, 1980, BFA
The classical Greek image of the mythological Chimera was that of a monstrous, female,
fire-breathing creature: an incongruous mixture of the head of a lion, the body of a goat,
and the tail of a dragon. Humankind has imagined and portrayed fantastical creatures
since the beginning of time. But today this ancient myth exists in biotechnologically
engineered forms. The current scientific definition of 'chimera' is any organism composed
of cells derived from at least two genetically different zygotes. Translation: featherless
chickens (bred for ease of production); mice with human brain cells; hybridized creatures
like the geep (sheep+goat), liger (lion+tiger), beefalo (buffalo+cow), and donkra (donkey
+zebra). Most recently, the world’s first primate chimeras have emerged, created from
several different species of monkey embryos. Might not human/animal chimeras be next?
My current body of work is inspired by these modern-day chimeras, however I pick up
where science leaves off, fusing the animal with the human. Details and craftsmanship
are key elements in my work, as I seek to create seamless, lifelike forms. I have cast, for
example, the bodies of a raw chicken and a human doll baby in resin, taking pains to
unify the seemingly 'separate' elements into plausible whole. Often, my creatures sport
weird, disturbing, or unexpectedly sexy body parts. I have mixed the body of a giraffe
with the cast head of a female mannequin, her face "made up" with false eyelashes and
her mouth filled with acrylic casts of my own teeth. If viewers look into the mirrored tiles
that cover the plinth on which she stands, they will see a reflection of the human vagina I
placed on her underbelly. Overall, my hybrid creatures are vulnerable, whimsical, and can
act as lighting rods for the viewer's catharsis. Although grotesque, they appear utterly
real. Questions seem to issue from their parted lips: "If I could talk, what would I say?"
"Are you, as humans, ready to listen?"
Working for so many years with hybrid forms has helped me see myself as a mixture:
mother/professional artist; instinctive animal/wise woman; healer/sufferer. I've learned a
great deal about humanity in adopting the part-beast as my own. This work has taught me
that to be fully human is a process, a verb, a goal towards which we must all aspire rather
than a static state of entitlement. Animals, driven by instinct, teach us to trust our inner
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