Artist Statement•Deadly Beauty

It all started with Peyote….specifically, the Peyote cactus that thrives in the sunny window of my studio. As I was contemplating it one day, I started to think about the amazing power of plants. The captivating beauty of these blossoming botanicals is often mixed with a fragrance of fear for their unseen capacity to harm or heal.

We generally look at things that are “natural” as benign, yet, this is just an illusion of safety. In the right dose at the right time, these plants are incredible healers. Get it wrong, and you can wind up on a long strange psychedelic trip or quite literally dead. I believe humans are continually drawn to that fine line between death and enlightenment. The botanicals in the Deadly Beauty series are an exploration of and a fascination with that magnetic edge. From the most exotic flower to the everyday shrubs adorning your backyard, these plants hold a deadly secret in each leaf, petal, root and seed.

Deadly Beauty took me back to my earlier life as an amateur herbalist, falling in love with the variety of healing plants that grew in abundance in the forests and fields of the Methow Valley. I learned to grow and wild-craft the herbs and flowers that became the primary medicines for my family. This series also radically pushed me forward in my evolution as an artist. New developments in materials and process were as strong of signposts as the plants themselves.

Like a naturalist or explorer, I wanted to present these humble and deadly plants as simple botanical studies letting the plants speak for themselves. These studies perfectly illustrate the Greek concept of Sympatheia, the idea that the universe is an indivisible, unified living organism endlessly created anew from a generative and regenerative source. All of life is reunited with the Earth, in turn, and we are all part of the same energy. Light and Shadow. Life and Death. Everything has its place.