REINTERPRETING REALITY: My work is an exploration of the medium of photography, environmental issues, and ourselves as spiritual beings in the Cosmos who are only temporarily on Earth as physical beings. No matter what form it takes, my photos are meant to touch the human psyche and evoke emotional response, sometimes subliminally.
These photos on silk are of my interpretations of actual places transformed by unique perspectives and reflections. As a photographer, I attempt to keep expanding the limits of the medium by innovating and experimenting with new techniques and new ways to incorporate photography into our daily lives. This body of work can be exhibited as art on walls, draped from ceilings, or worn as scarves.
Originally, it was exhibited as an installation in Finland titled “Urban Forest” with the silk panels hanging so visitors could walk among them as if walking through a forest. But, instead of trees, they were walking between “skyscrapers.” This was based on my personal experience of living in Silicon Valley. When I first moved here, it was all orchards with scattered homes, stores and buildings here and there. Now, it is virtually all homes, stores, buildings and parking lots with only one square block of orchard preserved as a “heritage orchard” to honor the past. The installation was meant to subconsciously remind viewers about the need to maintain a balance between “progress” and preservation.
This body of work is also meant to question pre-conceived notions of what we perceive as real and what we perceive on a different plane. Are my images imaginary or are they real as I photographed real places? In this age of technology, we have to think more about what is real and what is imagined or only exists in cyberspace. Does that parallel us in relation to the Cosmos? Is there a reality out there that we can’t comprehend because of our limited senses?
Besides my 72” x 14” works on silk, my photography on silk, paper, metal or other materials may be ordered in virtually any size. I also do custom designs for homes, offices, corporations, hospitals or public spaces that express a spirit of place.
ANCIENT MEMORIES OF METAMORPHOSIS: “Ancient Memories of Metamorphosis” is a work I did at my artist residency in Budapest on found fabric and inspired by a centuries-old silver object in the museum of Roman ruins at Aquincum. I love the sense of history behind used things, contemporary as well as ancient, particularly when they show remnants of their past. This “palimpsest” that is defined as “something that is reused or altered but still bearing visible traces of its earlier form” and “wabi-sabi” that is “the aesthetic of imperfection and transience” inform most of my art. In this work, I used copper leaf because it constantly changes as it patinas with exposure to the air and its pollutants, a source of beauty but also of concern.
"I was born a photographer and artist. I begged for a camera at the age of 5, started darkroom processing at 8, and had a photograph published in a national magazine by the age of 10. I deliberately started breaking all the rules from the beginning. I photographed into the sun, I photographed moving objects and so on to achieve the images I had visualized in my mind’s eye.
I branched out first by combining my photography with other materials and processes such as alternative process photography, papermaking, printmaking, fiber, encaustic, painting and mixed media. I gradually started developing bodies of work in those media on their own. I have photographed and made art almost every day of my life since then addressing issues of importance such as the threats to our environment and our place in the Cosmos. I try to capture feelings and evoke emotion with my work.
I studied photography at The University of California at Berkeley in their Design Department along with clay, glass, metals and fiber, at California College of the Arts (formerly California College of Arts and Crafts) and I took workshops when I could with many respected artists in California and all over the world.
I continue to break the rules, combine techniques and experiment. I try to innovate new techniques many of which have been widely copied – as they say: “Imitation is the greatest form of flattery.” But, I love sharing my work, discoveries and knowledge of art and processes.
My resume is many pages long, so here is a brief summary of just a few highlights: I have always been a very active artist. I have had well over one hundred solo shows and have participated in literally hundreds of group shows all over the world. I have had solo shows in Finland, France, Hungary and Italy as well as in the United States in places such as The Kauai Museum in Hawaii, and in California at The Art Museum of Los Gatos, Stanford University, Montalvo, and more.
My work is in collections of museums and state and private foundations as well as in municipal, public and private collections throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, Japan, in many countries in Europe and around the world." - DOTTI CICHON