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Using the illumination of the scanning machine as an original light source, I use digital scanning as a contemporary interpretation of the 19th-century photographic process of cliché verre, literally a Greek phrase meaning, “glass picture”. The distinct layering of image and sensory background amplifies the direct beauty of the natural object as it interfaces with technology in a kind of modern hybridization of an historic photographic process with hand drawn painting and original photography.

In Requiem: Aching for Acker, I was directly inspired by “Requiem” (1997), the last piece of writing by counterculture writer Kathy Acker, a friend of mine – on and off – for decades. It was published as part of an opera in London. A risk-taker and literary outlaw subversive, Acker was a hybrid of punk, postmodernism, feminism, and critical theory in her public identity as well as in her literary works. She died of breast cancer on November 30, 1997 at the age of 53, after a double mastectomy and turning her back on Western medicine. I was deeply moved to be a close friend to her in her final days. My series of photo-based multimedia works is an interpretation of the final poem in the opera, where Acker filters her cancer diagnosis through Greek mythology.  Using a mix of alternative processes and technology, I weave nature-based iconography from other of my recent bodies of work: roots, seeds, fossils, and lichen fused together with actual artifacts of Acker’s.  I use images of the body: with scars from survivors of breast cancer and from ancient tombstones, whose age and weathered surfaces add pathos to the stone hands and wings of angels. The imagery is suspended in a dense atmosphere of chromatic gradients, in a space full of subjectivity, memory and pain – an emotion filled realm of magic and myth.

I was looking for a vision to match the feelings: the loss and the power I felt reading this final piece.  Something that would remind the world of her power as a creative female force of nature – her self-mythologizing a form of empowerment and vulnerability: to marry the past and present in a rich body of work that speaks to the universality of the path we must all take: the path to the underworld.