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Make Your Mark (2019)

BFA Capstone Exhibition, Gardiner Gallery, Oklahoma State University (Stillwater, OK)

An essential part of my work involves collaboration between artist and audience, creating opportunities to connect with others through play. I am interested in making art that explores play as both a common ground and a way of lowering audience self-consciousness as I invite them to participate in the creative process. 

My project Make Your Mark is comprised of more than one hundred brightly colored abstract and figurative magnets on a black chalkboard. Viewers are encouraged to draw with chalk and rearrange the magnets so that many compositions can be generated. The use of bright colors, magnets, and chalk intentionally recall childhood. But at six feet by six feet, the scale of the magnetic chalkboard transforms a child's play activity into a collaborative community mural. While this process is underway, I continue to interact with the audience by adding my own ideas to the chalkboard as well. Because compositions created on this chalkboard are ephemeral, I also photograph the work at intervals throughout the time it is on display in order to capture the ongoing transitions.

My style has always been very graphic and improvisational, with bold colors and patterns central to each of my prints. Originally, these lithographs were the source of inspiration for my magnets. However, as my work matured, I recognized the opportunity to make relief prints from the documented moments in the ongoing creation of the community art. Together, the framed prints represent both the inspiration for my work and my response to specific moments captured in the ongoing chalkboard project.

It is important to me that people interact with the human forms on my chalkboard, because ultimately this project is about interacting with others and recognizing our shared humanity. By working together on one community mural, people will build on the ideas of others, no matter how different those ideas are from their own. I have chosen to mix figurative shapes with abstract shapes to symbolize the known and the unknown that we carry into every social situation. All of us have groups of people we feel we belong to, and others we do not know much about. The good news is we have endless opportunities to learn. I want my audience to leave the exhibition with a heightened appreciation for our collective responsibility to listen to each other and work together.

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