My favorite mountain


Mt. St. Helens is my favorite mountain. Granted, if she blew up right in front of me, she may not be my favorite mountain (since I’d be drowning in lethal hot ash). But in her current dormant state, I can appreciate her up close and personal. It’s more of her energy that I’m drawn to than her specific location or shape. I couldn’t quite describe what kind of energy, but my sister put it best when she sweetly said, as we were playing with our bare feet in the white dust diagonally from Spirit Lake – “This is a wounded place”.

Things that passed through my mind and our conversations during our hike in front of Mt. St. Helens (in no particular order):

– the 6th extinction
– whether La Croix is a suitable substitute for desert hydration as opposed to bottled water
– abuse
– existing and extinct ecology
– global warming
– body modification as means of protection/defense
– Roxane Gay’s book, Hunger
Native Americans
– bodies being soft verses being hard
– how orange, purple, and yellow are my favorite wildflower color combination.

The dichotomy of women’s bodies and the earth have been discussed for years and years and years. Describing parallels from my end will only ring very cliche, but I recommend reading Woman and Nature: The Roaring Inside Her by Susan Griffin (1978).

(Of course I’d also be interested in finding references that stem from more recent intersectional feminist perspectives – i.e woc and non-binary).

I’m glad my sister and I are closer.

The Jar

This is a piece I did for SPARK: art from writing: writing from art   .  I was assigned by the founder, Amy Souza, to make a painting based on a poem titled, “Freed from the Jar” by Kamika Cooper.  It was a good exercise for me to loosen up and paint faster than usual since there was a deadline.  The wire coil in the tree is from when I worked in the archives and had to remove spines for rehousing documents in folders.  And that is a dead moth I found in my studio – there were no moths mentioned in the poem, but it’s what I imagined.

Here are other works from different artists made during Spark’s 33rd round:

Craft & Folk Art Museum 

On Sunday during my recent short trip to Los Angeles, I decided to opt out on paying the pricey admission to go inside LACMA (at the time I wasn’t feeling that keen about worshipping Picasso and Rivera, the two male titans). Instead, I dragged my poor sick sister to the nearby Craft & Folk Art Museum because they were having two exhibits that caught my interest (and the admission was far more affordable). The first exhibit was called Chapters: Book Arts in Southern California. Over 60 local artists were featured and the works (spanning two floors including the entrance) covered sculptural installations, interactive found-books (visitors could tear a piece out of a blank page for keeps or manipulate the printed words to form a sentence), zines and hand-printed/illustrated editions. The many themes ranged from conceptualism to feminism.  Nothing gets me more excited than when words not only can be functional in visual art, but when they also can just exist as static matter.   The second exhibit on the top floor was called Focus Iran 2: Contemporary Photography and Video.  The juried exhibit was in collaboration with the Farhang Foundation, a non-profit that provides support for Iranian art in LA. My favorite section was the video/sound installation by the artists Elahe Moonesi, Maziar Moradi, and Farhood Yazdanpanah. I sat and watched goldfish, frozen in melting ice cubes, hanging by strings in the sun – and a young woman lying on her back, smothered in her white (wedding?) dress, as her fabric is getting violently sewn by other hands.  It only reinforced my wish to someday venture back into video and sound.

I know I haven’t been able to paint or update my website because of grad school and working full time, but there is also a new development I’m excited to be working on: I’m currently doing research for an exhibit I’ll be curating at OHSU’s Library using materials from the Historical Collections & Archives #work #archives #studentworker #exhibit #medical #historical #collections #rarebooks #writing (at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU))