I entered the Brick Dwelling building at The Hancock Shaker Village in Pittsfield Massachusetts for the first time using my IPhone flashlight. During the winter all the windows are blocked to keep the place warm. Once inside when a few windows were unblocked and new light came in, I knew that my work, for this exhibition, would be about the nature of illumination.
Shakers designed this building with window light in mind –with apertures that invite a plentiful radiance that makes objects inside appear to turn from matter to spirit and vice versa. Within that frame of mind I wanted to come up, in pictures, with something about how this quality of light could have shaped the perception and imagination of the former tenants there – perhaps how a shimmering door could propose a different form of entry, how a chair’s shadow could suggest a new possibility in design.
The American artist, Charles Scheeler (1883-1965), was my guide in envisioning much of this work. I love the diverse expressive results he achieved in his paintings and photographs of Shaker objects and architecture. His art ranged from photographic precision to cubistic re -workings of these objects. Like him, I tried to be free enough to render this Shaker environment with respect and imagination.