My interest in art and archaeology has been worldwide, and rock art- the images created by the first people in cultures everywhere- was one area of graduate study that deeply intrigued me. I had always been interested in this area of study, but became more intensely focused upon drawing connections and studying the images.
After seeing the carved stellae depicting such unusual and sophisticated images in Monte Alban, Oaxaca, I began to study rock art images in the United States. Pictographs and petroglyphs abound, particularly in the west and southwest, though they do occur all over the continent. I began by studying the rock art images around the Great Lakes, where I live. I have visited sites, and read many books describing the images and possible meanings. OF course, one thing leads to another, and the prehistoric rock art images from thousands of cultures and time periods began to occupy my research. Lucy Lippard’s book OVERLAY brought a fascinating discourse about art, prehistory and contemporary artists into play, and not only brought fresh ideas to my studies, but also affected my own artwork and exploration of concepts in my work. these are the libraries of prehistoric people, from whom we have all descended. I wanted to know all I could about what they were communicating, and of course, we can never really ascertain that we know the truth for certain.
My travels took me to Orkney, Scotland, to several World Heritage sites, including Skara Brae, where an entire prehistoric village had been covered for thousands of years and revealed when the sand was blown off in a storm. IT was fascinating to see the way people had lived-not so unlike us today! They even had toilets built into their homes, 5,000 BC. I continued to travel around Ireland, recording the stone carvings and imagery created there during the same era. Certainly sun, moon, and stars were depicted, but the carvings go beyond that realm. Soon I’ll write about the experiences in the cairns, seeing the images as possible trance inducing languages.
I also studied in and traveled to France, and visited the caves (called grottes in French) where people even longer ago, 30,000 BC, left their hand prints,stories and images on the walls. All of these experiences led to developing tours, acting on my desire to share all I had learned with people. Which leads me to Santa Fe…where the same practice can be seen in many places. On my tour there we will visit Bandelier Monument, where amazing images have been carved, pecked or drawn on stone, and try to understand just what the ancestors were communicating.