A Life Spent Looking and Listening
I have always been deeply aware of seeing and hearing. Born hearing-impaired and wearing hearing aids since the age of three, I became especially observant of the world and the people around me. I learned early to lip-read to supplement what I could hear, and my attunement to “reading” faces developed my visual sensitivity. This led to my first creative passion — fine-art portrait photography.
During my years as a professional photographer, I was always looking outside myself for something that would resonate within me. At some point the process reversed, and I became acutely aware of an inner landscape that was seeking to be revealed in an outer form. And so, I transitioned from photography to painting. Now, as a painter I excavate my inner terrain, transferring reverberations from this inner world onto canvas.
The painting process has often been likened to that of an archaeological dig – scraping down and revealing past layers – and in my case it is a particularly apt metaphor. In college I studied cultural anthropology and archaeology, and in my twenties I worked on a number of excavations. I love to travel, soaking in the richness of colors, the diversity of different cultures, and taking in the residues of ancient times. At the same time, I am continually struck and touched by the universals across human civilization. From these journeys I bring back artifacts that are meaningful to me and I incorporate these into my work—whether they are photographs I take which inspire me, or actual materials, which I collage into my paintings.
Another aspect that informs my work is my interest in the strata of the mind, both universal and personal. My father was a psychoanalyst, and my mother is a therapist; and so I grew up comfortable with and very interested in the workings of the human psyche. In addition, my lifelong love of classical music and playing the piano has provided another avenue to the psyche’s depth, and has helped develop my ability to listen. Part of my journey then, both as a person, and in my artwork, has been to refine my capacity to sense and listen to the subtle and ever shifting experiences taking place within my soul.
To read about what influences my current paintings, read my Statement.
I am currently working on a memoir about my Berkeley childhood growing up severely hard of hearing with a very eccentric, bipolar psychoanalyst German father and German Jewish mother. For more information about my memoir, visit my author website.