My work explores the connection between places and internal solitude. While capturing these select images, I found myself reflecting upon ideas, plans, and dreams while suddenly realizing I was solo within the cultural landscape minus its inhabitants. I intend to take the viewer to this quiet place of contemplation where the textures, shapes, and light provide a heightened sensation of the solo perspective. From the hush in the light drenched hall of the Louvre in Paris or gritty ancient feel of the Italian hills of Matera, I hope to expose the details of solitude that might be missed ina crowded metropolis.
In the early 1980’s I became famaliar with a lovely cafe on a quiet short block in NY’s West Village. The Cornelia Street Cafe was a hotbed of creative people performing, reading poetry and prose and exhibiting their art on the walls of the cafe. One of the performers I met was a lovely, tall and fire eyed woman named Caroline Simonds. Born in Washington DC she immigrated to France at the age of 20 after having graduated from Bennington. Having just come to NY from Paris, she exuded a unique ‘wonderous’ spirit which manifested itself in her performing character ‘Ratapuce’.
She had a new daughter Lailah Melusine Cordiere Simonds that modeled for me a few years later to become the ‘poster child’ of The New York Clown Theatre Festival in 1983.
In 1971, in Paris, she co-founded ‘The Palace of Wonders’ with street performer, eccentric Jules Cordiere. Her character Ratapuce traveled the globe for 10 years with The Palace of Wonders. After coming to New York she started ‘Pandemonium and the Dragonfly’ performing as a singer, musician, clown and actress.
Being awestruck by Baudelaire,and Camembert she (with a few grants) moved back to Paris to create Le Rire Medicin, the first group of it’s kind in Europe. This highly improvisational team was interactive with the healthcare professionals and had ongoing medical and artistic training. (Read more about Clown Doctors in France here!) Today Le Rire Medicin is present in 15 French hospitals and employs 80 specially trained professional hopiclowns. Caroline and Le Rire Medicin are presently creating a school to train future hospital clowns. Caroline co-wrote with Dr. Bernie Warren The Clown Doctor Chronicles (Albin Michel 2001, Rodopi 2003and Les Editions Rire Medecin in 2008). She also received one of France’s most prestigious awards in 2002 The Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres.