Constructed by slaves from a rugged mixture of oyster shells, lime, sand and water, Ossabaw Island's Tabby Cabins have withstood the Civil War, countless hurricanes and coastal development. Inhabited until the early 1900's, today they stand as a historical and archeological treasure. The hand rubbings Gillies made in these cabins serve as a jumping off point for her explorations of the artifacts literally buried in the Tabby walls—and the stories those artifacts represent. She continues to question the cultural history of the Georgia barrier islands through drawing, painting and sculpture. SEE THE WORK >>
The Alchi Moon series is painted using a contemporary fresco technique. Layers of plaster and pigment reveal a story and its own alchemy. The series had its origin it Ladakh, India. During that trip she was granted permission to sketch the inside of several important Buddhist monasteries. The ancient frescos included numerous images of animals. The position and treatment of animals in Buddhism is important for the light it sheds on Buddhists; perception of their own relation to the natural world, on Buddhist humanitarian concerns in general, and on the relationship between Buddhist theory and Buddhist practice. Moreover, the doctrine of rebirth held that any human could be reborn as animal, and any animal could be reborn as a human. An animal might be a reborn dead relative, and anybody who looked far enough back through their series of lives might come to believe every animal to be a distant relative. The Buddha expounded that beings currently living in the animal realm have been our mothers, brothers, sisters, fathers, children, friends in past rebirths. One could not, therefore, make a hard distinction between moral rules applicable to animals and those applicable to humans; ultimately humans and animals were part of a single family. They are all interconnected. The Alchi monastery was her favorite and is the inspiration for the show. SEE THE WORK >>
Bees are literally a lynchpin of our physical environment—yet, around the world their colonies are dying. I believe this is a clear message that our environment is in trouble—a message that has been largely ignored by the public. Modern life isolates us from nature, leaving us far too sheltered from life forces, and far too able to ignore even seismic environmental shifts. With this work, I hope to cast light on the issue.
The elements of each piece speak directly and indirectly to the importance of bees in our lives, and to the ways in which we should respect them. Real bees interact with images of flowers—the necessary elements for pollination. Southeastern Asian spices represent pollen, while paper, burned in Southeast Asia to venerate ancestors, honors the bee's role in our world. Small sculptures of Acorn People holding pieces of wax extend the theme of nature—and further underscore our responsibility to be aware of our environment. Hands, cradling votive candles, add to the aura of a shrine. SEE THE WORK >>
Immersed in water, you are also immersed in experience. Anything can happen. You are both completely vulnerable, and utterly responsible for yourself. And when that water is wild—a river, a pond, a sea—by entering it you must open yourself to possibility...because you don't necessarily know how it will work out. SEE THE WORK >>