BFA from the University of Minnesota in 1997. MFA from Lesley University in 2011. Currently an adjunct Professor at Augsburg College.
What is the difference between what we know and what we believe?
The Hopi people of the South West United States believe they were seeded by Kachinas or ‘Star People’ in their ancient past, and their descendants look today at the sky and await their return. Similar stories influence many Neolithic cultures including (but not limited to) the Aboriginals of Australia, the Inca in the Andes and the first great culture recognized by modern archaeology; the Sumerians. This belief about our origins has existed almost as long as human beings have… These beliefs existed long before Christianity, Judaism, or Islam. Despite our culture’s sometimes comical or condescending view of the UFO phenomenon, UFO’s have never really gone away, only our attitude toward them has evolved. Do we demand fact from the established religions or do we rely solely on eyewitness testimony and accounts of people or events that are hundreds of years old and have been translated and copied for generations? I think we hold UFO sightings (and all “paranormal phenomenon”) to a different standard of skepticism than we do more classic religious-based visions or inspirations.
In his book Angels and Aliens, author Keith Thompson discusses a bit of this dichotomy.
… because the events of UFO encounters are typically surrealistic – dreamlike, fantastical, at once less than and more than real – the psyche reaches for interpretations in order to bridge the gaps. Some UFO researchers seek exhaustive answers by focusing entirely on the surface events, trying to prove that it’s all happening just as it appears to be happening… Others look beneath the surfaces for the exhaustive truth, trying to prove that nothing is as it seems… (Thompson 39)
My new body of work explores not only the UFO phenomenon, but the larger idea of the “Paranormal” in and around our state. I believe that UFO’s and other paranormal phenomenon are much more than the surface events people witness or report. They reach a deep instinctual area of our mind binding us together and creating stories around the campfire and in our shared mythologies. The giant squid was only photographed and proven to exist in the last 25 years, yet sailors told fantastic stories about it for centuries and it became a part of the sea-faring mythos. I want my artwork to exist in this liminal world. Somewhere between fact and fiction, between religion and science, between proof and iconography.
My artwork is about providing viewers with a shared mental experience and tapping into a primal location in our psyche. I am capturing that moment of recognition, an area where we instinctively try to comprehend what is happening, and thus reconcile the significance of what we are seeing (with out the aid of preconceived notions or previous experiences). Viewers are not witnessing the unknown in the artwork as much as experiencing the unknown areas of their own minds.