There was a time when I dubbed myself a “militant” New Orleanian. I claimed to have Mississippi River water running through my veins. Then “she” came, with her banshee winds, her crumbled levees, and her toxic flood. A part of me drowned in Katrina. So, I suppose, in some ways, I am still defined by water. Now, my cheeks are wet with tears.
My husband and I lost our home, our business, and much of our identity in that storm. I was never able to go into my studio again, so lovingly created from an old garage. The deluge pushed my antique drafting table against the door, creating a dam of paints and canvases and water-logged work that will never be seen.
The human spirit is much like Pandora’s Box – there is always a bit of hope left inside. Soon, I began to paint again.
Much of the work that I have selected for this exhibit has bits and pieces salvaged from the detritus of my past life. You may see fragments of rusted jewelry, shattered objects, and ephemera that have taken on an almost iconic symbolism. Like me, these elements may be damaged, but still survive.
As always, my work is strongly influenced by religious iconography. I consider myself a victim of my early Catholic education. Those haunting images from childhood are inescapable: holy cards with golden halos, the stigmata and the Sacred Heart. These things attract and repulse at the same time.
Even before Katrina, my mother accused me of making art that is sad. I disagree. My work is about finding beauty in things that are damaged, and in orphaned things searching for a home. It is quirky and offbeat. I hope it makes someone smile.