In the late 1960s, I began to move from painting toward sculpture without realizing where I was headed. Minimalism was in the air. I began a series of Imaginary Wall works: 7x10 painted and collaged canvases that stood on the floor and leaned against the wall. I added fluorescent lights and mirror strips. By the early 1970s, I was making painted false front “hotel” facades which I thought of as shaped canvases. Although I was drawn to some sculptors: Lee Bontecou, Robert Morris, Dan Flavin, Tony Berlant, my inspiration came mostly from painters: Hopper, De Chirico, Matisse, Magritte, Burchfield, Dine and photographers: Atget, Walker Evans, Berenice Abbott, Wright Morris. I also loved Joseph Cornell.
The women’s movement gave me both a larger, liberating purpose and the courage to draw on my own early experiences. I remember reading Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own, which was crucial for developing the central metaphor of my work: finding women’s voice and placing it in the world.
In 1973, I had my first one-woman show Hotels at a co-op gallery in SoHo. The hotels were set up like a tropical village with bird calls and hot lights. The slightly reduced scale of the work, which I use to this day, was derived from my own body: the first hotel was sixty-eight inches tall and the top of the front door came to my eye level.