Part of the allure of working with antique and vintage paper is that each has a unique weight and feel and must be handled accordingly. Some are so delicate that they can only be excised with tiny incisions lest they tear, while others can stand up to the roughest of treatments. Some of the papers seem to have a life of their own in the way they lay and curl, the living fibers from which they were made having left their indelible mark. When I find documents that display these qualities I feel compelled to highlight the beauty of their physical form and allow the will of the paper to come forward. I want the page to appear to be floating as if it is suspended in midair, held aloft by a gust of wind. In other compositions, the paper is adhered rigidly to the surface in order to highlight the gorgeous colors of a chromolithograph, stamps and markings or lithe cut forms that I layer on top.
The Mysteries are layered works in terms of their materiality and metaphor. The antique ephemera I use has passed through the hands of many, the lives of whom are a complete mystery to me. How did they make it through the 1918 flu pandemic and WWI, periods with the divisions and uncertainty that are uncomfortably close to our own? In times of distress it is natural to look to those who have lived through harrowing circumstances to tell their stories. This connection to the past is a form of hope. The Mysteries are a manifestation of connectedness through time.