I can’t wait to have the whole thing revamped (in the new year… watch out!), but I’ve updated my website with some of the new work from the end of this year. One of the kinks in the site-as-is is the way images register in the ‘thumbnails’… click on any image to see a bigger and clearer version.

The series is named (perhaps temporarily?) O Mountain, My Mountain. Or, for short, O Mountain. If you text it to someone, you might call it OM. In any case, as a resident of Seattle, where Mt. Rainier presides over the sky, I have found that this singular mountain form has become especially potent.

Some of them also feel like responses to the latent influence of Maya Lin (above), whose topographical expressions of particular water-bodies’ masses read like inverted mountains…a plug of mass… a solidifying of something conventionally liquid and mutable. I saw some of these at the Henry when we first arrived in Seattle, and they have really stuck with me.


haunted #2: ralph lemon

I am super haunted today by a performance we saw last night by Ralph Lemon and an astounding group of dancer/actors at On the Boards (How Can You Stay in the House All Day and Not Go Anywhere?). For a play-by-play (so glad I didn’t read this before going to see it!) read the article in the New York Times. And for an interview with Ralph Lemon, see this piece in The Huffington Post. But suffice it to say here that Lemon’s fluid movement between poetic language, video, dance and performance that struggles against the strain of mourning the death of a life partner has sunken so deeply into me that I don’t really even know how to talk about it. In fact, to limit the description to mourning pins it down too much.

The commitment of the performers to really difficult material and the physical exertion of the dance was much of what held the whole evening together, but it was also seeing inside a man’s creative process and grieving process at once, in a rare conflation of personal and universal that didn’t get bogged down in self-absorption. (I mistyped conflation as conflagration at first, which works, in a way, as well.)

Here’s another multi-tiered approach… literature, animation, sculpture, sound (nothing on screen can compare to real bodies in real space, but still…):

mee shim

A number of years ago, I was visiting a dear friend in Fort Wayne Indiana, who mentioned a painter that she knew, and asked if I’d like to go see her show and studio. I get a little nervous in these situations, because it’s so awkward to be introduced to someone whose work you don’t respond to. Luckily, the work was astounding and thrummed with a massive beauty. Mee Kyung Shim is a Korean painter who went to school at Wayne State University in Detroit, and had ended up through her husband’s teaching job in Fort Wayne. I’m not sure where she is now (looks like California, if I follow google?), but I was just thinking of her again, and enjoying the memory of meeting work and a person that open a new world inside a moment.

olfactory ghosts

I know it’s the day after Halloween, but let’s talk about being haunted. When I first moved to Seattle, I remember smelling an unfamiliar plant smell some evenings– especially at dusk. A salty green cabbage-like odor. It slowly occurred to me that I was smelling our new neighbor– the sea inlet, Puget Sound. I’d never been by the sea so long, especially in a northern setting, where the cold water gives off a different sort of aroma. Anyway, there are specific smells for every place, and most people are aware of the strong connection to nostalgia.

This year, I am being haunted by a smell that I think might be wild yeast. I catch it on artisan breads and Belgian style beers, which is why I think it might be yeast. But all of a sudden, I am smelling it EVERYWHERE. On my sons’ and husband’s skin and hair, when doors open as I walk down the street, in wafts of air from any direction. {Just in case you’re wondering, we’re not suffering from any yeast-based infections– thrush or rash or otherwise.} I love it– it’s warm and round and earthy, sweet and complex. And while the microscopic forms of yeast are not that interesting (unless you get even smaller than their outside forms, they tend to look like tic-tacs), the frequency of this experience has got me thinking all the time about the microbial botanical garden/zoo that we live inside of every moment. Just as you can see little pixel specks of light in everything once you understand the phenomena that make up the study of optics, so you can sense and imagine the world of too-small-for-the-naked-eye creatures that make their habitation all around us.

I imagine as I walk that I’m parting a sea of orbs and domes, invisible wonders like the improbably beautiful jellies we see floating around in our aquatic oceans. Electron microscopes back me up.