I grew up in the middle of art on the upper westside of Manhattan. My father was an artist whose studio was in what would have been our dining room. I helped my father lay out his silk screen prints to dry and I helped my mother set up her short-lived art gallery. My parents were communists and dreamed of a world free from oppression and exploitation. I grew up with the twin legacies of art and activism. Demonstrations against the war in Vietnam and in support of the black liberation movement were a family affair.
I drew and painted from an early age, and then in my teenage years discovered photography. I had my first darkroom in 1975 and taught myself black and white darkroom processes. My darkroom has been idle since 2005 when I dragged myself kicking and screaming into the digital age.
My work explores family histories, the intersection of personal and historical memory and the relationship between cognitive and body memories. I am excited by the potential for art to create connection between peoples, to express the vibrancy of our lives and our struggles and to make the world a more complex and beautiful place. I continue to weave art and activism together.
My 1997 award-winning video In Living Memory,
a dialogue between father and daughter that challenges traditions ideas of remembering and forgetting, screened at over 25 festivals across North America and on television. Tempest in a Teapot
, a 1987 video about my mother and her radical political activities screened at five festivals around Toronto and was exhibited as an installation at ASpace Gallery in Toronto, complete with wallpaper created from her mother’s FBI files.
My 2010 photo-based work, FBI Family
speaks to the social and political textures of state surveillance, both historic and contemporary. These photomontages are densely layered images combining my mother’s FBI surveillance files with archival family photos. FBI Family
was exhibited in Toronto in 2010-2011 at the Junction Arts Festival, Ellington's Music and Cafe and at the Toronto Free Gallery as part of the Mayworks Festival of Working People and the Arts.