I paint interiors from memory. I choose a room that I can recall in detail, like my parent's dining room in Red Plastic Plates. The original artwork is made from cut paper, which I paint by hand on my studio floor, then cut into the shapes that make up the room. The cut paper pieces are even flatter, more graphic and labor-intensive than my paintings, yet more physical, due to the layers of paper; up close, you can see the glue and little imperfections that don't exist in my paintings. Living on the East Coast made me acutely aware of the aesthetics of my midwestern upbringing. My experiences in New York and at Yale University cast my family's home and lifestyle in a different light: a pragmatic, mundane (and rather flat) sense of beauty, unburdened by high ideas or refinements of style. The combination of my earlier working-class tastes and the later-acquired, intensely cosmopolitan awareness of style has shaped who I am as a painter. Red Plastic Plates captures the humor of the culture clash I sometimes feel when I introduce new people to my family. My husband and stepson were visiting my parents' home in Cincinnati for the first time, and my mother, to my horror, insisted on serving dinner in the dining room on red plastic plates with plastic cups, plastic silverware and paper napkins. I love my mother and can now thank her for creating the image for Red Plastic Plates.
I grew up in Cincinnati, OH and attended 12 years of Catholic school. I played basketball and volleyball, listened to Top 40 radio and had a perm. I arrived at the Cleveland Institute of Art in 1992 wearing a hooded sweatshirt and Umbro athletic shorts. I finished art school in 1997 and moved to NYC, wearing combat boots and a thrift store dress and carrying a stack of Fugazi and Sebadoh CDs. I moved to Williamsburg, Brooklyn and worked as a freelance art-handler and then in a Chelsea gallery. During a summer of 2000 fellowship in Skowhegan, I began painting with gouache on paper. I started Yale's MFA painting program in 2002. I won a traveling scholarship and visited France, Germany and Austria. I decided I wanted to live in Berlin after Yale, so I started learning German. In 2004, I moved to Berlin for a year with a DAAD scholarship. After Berlin, I moved back to the Midwest with my future husband, a German philosophy professor who had decided to go to law school in Chicago. I have lived in Chicago since 2005, teaching drawing and painting at the Art Institute and Northwestern. Our daughter Olive was born here in May 2008.