When I began to paint Leona Helmsley, a few years before her trial, I was interested in the tradition of the painted icon. I was interested in Helmsley as a social icon, as a metaphor for power and success/excess. Filming the trial in NY Federal Court with a Super 8 camera brought additional considerations. When I attended the trial, I had the notion that I would be a neutral observer, anonymous and unobserved. Instead I found I couldn’t look without being looked at. I discovered that at times that when I pointed my camera, other photographers followed my lead. When I saw that I appeared behind my camera in footage on the evening news. I became interested in working with these images to emphasize my relationship to this event both as a spectator and participant. Artwork in the exhibition included paintings with video and projected film, animations with sound, lithographs, text and digital prints
The Female Offender Series explored transgressive women--women who had broken both the explicit and unwritten rules of our society. The work examined the tacit rules of conduct and appearance that colored the media coverage of such "female offenders" as Amy Fisher, Tonya Harding, Susan Smith and Leona Helmsley. It combined photographic images with passages from both recent and nineteenth century publications, including etiquette books, criminology texts, and old Girl Scout manuals, in order to reveal the outdated morality underlying the way these women were represented. Work in the series included video installations, digital prints, books and flip books.
The Joel Steinberg Series explored the coverage of the trial of Joel Steinberg, the disbarred NY attorney convicted of beating his young child to death. The media coverage of the trial focused on Steinberg's battered mate, obsessed with her culpability. With headlines inquiring, “…how could any mother no mater how battered fail to help her dying child?”, my work shifted the gaze, both literally and figuratively, from the victims back to the accused and the media itself, combining digital imagery with text from the coverage of the trial.