Poems is a series of photographic collages of places. The presentation of the series echoes forms of poetry through their arrangement in couplets, triplets, or a large installation (the epic poem). The Poems are fleeting moments caught for examination and then sliced, shuffled, repeated and reordered. They scrutinize unseen or neglected facets of a location— its mood, level of intimacy, the intricacy of pattern and texture, and the effect of light and time on a place.
Several themes emerged in the series, ranging from domestic spaces, public places, and travel (whether it is the daily commute or a visit to a new location). The Poems exist in components, which stand alone or grouped together in installations, that traverse a wall or room, or in accordion books displayed in three-dimensional space. Currently, the height of the components is determined by the standard photographic print size (4×6 inches), signifying their commonplace origin. The results are akin to snapshots in form if not entirely in content. Snapshots record places, events, and people we want to remember. The Poems often record the more insignificant things that we miss if we do not take the time to observe them, the flashes of color and textures that lack clarity in our memories.
The Poems: Public Places Souvenir Shop was included in two solo exhibitions, the Arlington Art Center, Arlington, VA, in April 2008; and School 33 Art Center, Baltimore, MD, May-July 2007.
The “shop” featured postcards, guidebooks, and magnets on display and for sale. These objects are souvenirs of fabricated scenes—scenic views juxtaposed with the less than scenic views. Certain landmarks are promoted and celebrated with civic pride, while other locations develop infamy due to the detritus of unconsidered change or to neglect. Often in promoting a community, those areas that need improvement are swept under the rug. Poems uses the visual language of promotion, photography, and advertising to break down the promotional clichés that define place, and include what is conspicuously left out or marginalized.