The Camps

Artist Statement

From 1989 through 1993, my artwork and accompanying research focused solely on the history and legacy of the Holocaust. My process included several trips to Poland, Austria, Germany, the former Czechoslovakia, and the former Soviet Union. I went to concentration camps, Jewish cemeteries, surviving synagogues, former Jewish neighborhoods and German steel plants. I photographed everything I could and used the photographs themselves in mixed media work. The process of working was one I developed out of an inability to specifically paint the imagery I had seen. Before I began this period of work, I was a painter. Since that period, I have worked as much in mixed media as in paint.
The “camp” pieces were the first I did and focused on the sites most consider at the center of the Holocaust, the concentration camps. The two resulting series incorporate sections of photographs I took in 1989 in Auschwitz-Birkenau, Majdanek and Stutthof, all in Poland, with various media on canvas. In them I was struggling to incorporate what I had seen at those sites, to give concrete space to what I was trying to say. It had taken me five years to realize I had to go to Poland, and after returning, I had nightmares. These pieces were the only thing that stopped them.