I am an Irish American artist, born in Bangor, Maine. As a descendent of early colonial Scottish Protestants and Irish Catholics. My mother was an executive chef, lobbyist, educator, and dietitian; my father is an astronomy architect, Pyramid Text scholar, and United States Air Force pilot. Together they developed a passion for art, amassing a collection that became a breeding ground for my unique set of visual and auditory skills. Visual stimulation became my first language. I developed what is called the Matthew Effect and, because I was a non-remediated student and did not get diagnosed with a host of learning disabilities until 48 years of age, these stronger skills took over for my deficit in reading, math, and writing.
To be brought up in a home that fostered an appreciation for the creative and artistic was a gift from my parents. Without the celebration of their passion for art I would have not have recognized the value of pursuing my artistic path nor the absorbent amount of responsibly to honor my authenticity, culture, and community. To actively pursue and develop a visual voice and professional art practice have been my greatest life achievements, ones that continues to challenge, stretch, and bring me gratification in ways I could never imagine.
I started my career at the age of 14 in the music business as a recording engineer working for television and radio conglomerates such as CBS and NBC. After graduating from high school, I worked for a number of recording studios. Soon I owned and operated Southwestern Entertainment Management Company, managing local and regional heavy metal bands, at which time I was introduced to singer/songwriter Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac and became her house engineer. Shortly thereafter, I met, married, and had a daughter with legendary heavy metal artist Ian Hill of Judas Priest.
I continued to study sound engineering, working for a management and music-publishing firm that represented artists such as Pat Travers, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Molly Hatchet, and Quiet Riot. In 1987, while living in Spain and England, I started a property management company and antique emporium. I became interested in city center management, crisis management, and issues of personal safety for women and children. I worked with the Birmingham City Council, Birmingham Police Department-CID, Great Western Arcade, and the UK Home Office as a logistics and security specialist and was awarded the International Business Woman of the Year.
My journey of working with creative people such as musicians, artists, city planners, and entrepreneurs led me to find my authentic purpose: being an artist. In 2012 I returned to school to earn the degrees that had eluded me for so long, and embarked on making the necessary sacrifices to honor my passion for being an artist and developing a full-time art practice. Between 2014 and 2018 I completed numerous associate degrees, ultimately earning my Bachelors of Fine Arts. My BFA thesis project and exhibition, The Matriarch Series, celebrated the lives of my mother, stepmother, and mother-in-law, all of whom had unexpectedly passed within eight months of each other. The series was an installation comprised of an immersive triptych of ledger stones (240 x 96 x 1 in.) in the style of a white cut-out dress made from birch wood along with a stacked sculpture (36 x 42 x 24 in.) of six, life-size, plaster cast legs with high heel shoes, replicating broken limbs as a metaphor of the matriarchs’ broken bodies.
During my undergraduate studies, I developed a process using acrylic paint as a textile, creating couture fashion for the runway for which I received a SURFACE: Emerging Artist of New Mexico award. I continue to develop this process and its uses in my visual articulation. I am now embarking on The Female Gaze Series, a deconstruction of conventional themes of the female gaze informed by theorist Laura Mulvey’s research. For centuries, "the male gaze" has dominated popular culture with propaganda perpetuating patriarchal dominance in every aspect of American society. In her 2016 TIFF Talks keynote address, film director Jill Soloway champions the cause, challenging the creative industry to "make space for women to take the lead in shaping female protagonism," further observing that "art is self-propaganda...protagonist is propaganda.”
The depth and breadth of this series encompasses my epic journey of female empowerment and the defiance of not being objectified or dismissed. Developing an authentic feminist mythology is crucial to reclaiming the collective female identity. As Barbara S. Lesko writes in The Great Goddesses of Egypt, “Women have worshipped goddesses for far more millennia than they have lived under the patriarchal monotheisms.” My series captures five large scale (60 x 60 x 2 in.) self-portraits on canvas, amalgamating figurative realism in multiple disciplined processes: photography, digital manipulation, acrylic skins, acrylic casting, and acrylic and oil painting.
I recently completed a Bench Jewelry Certificate at Central New Mexico Community College and interned for Judy Chicago. During my MFA at the Burren College of Art, I develop a cohesive body; increase my teaching experience to more deeply experience how students learn; make critical connections with curators and art writers; participate in a meaningful community and grew the audience(s) and supporters of my work.
Now graduated, I have become the owner and caretaker of an immense project in Connemara, Co. Galway, a 20-acre seaside farm in Cill Chiaráin. I hope to develop it into an artist residency programme for artists seeking to reconnect with nature and developing a practice focused on ecology. I will transfer my practice to my atelier, the barn of my Connemara home, focusing more on the ecology of the landscape, researching and developing installation art for exhibition and education, and pursuing a PhD degree focused on The Lumper Project developed during my MFA programme.