In the Window
Interference Blue , 2010
needles, thread, netting, and fabric on wall
This installation is part of a series of work inspired by diamonds and cut gemstones. Their geometric faceting augments my love of traditional, grid-based embroidery patterns, wherein the purity and structural integrity of the grid is married with a desire for beauty and ornament. Conceptually, my interest lies in diamonds as a model for ideas about strength and weakness. Their exceptionally strong crystal structure is the hardest substance known, and yet cleaves along zones of relative weakness forming the “brilliant cut.” Their engineered architecture of facets, shards, mirrored surfaces, and refracted light have proven to be captivating subjects for me.
Another influence on this work is the practice of Dazzle Camouflage painting used by U.S. and British navies during World War I. Dazzle did not conceal the ship but rather, used bold geometric abstraction to create a visual distortion that would “dazzle” and mislead the enemy. Successful Dazzle Camouflage made it difficult for the enemy to estimate a ship’s speed and direction purely by visual confusion. Similarly, a central goal in my work is to achieve spatial uncertainty, commingling seductive and disorienting qualities. The title refers to the optical properties of minerals and the behavior of light waves when they pass through a thin film, such as the netting used in this piece.
This installation was funded in part by a Good Idea Grant from the Maine Arts Commission, an independent state agency supported by the National Endowment for the Arts.