The Whorl of My Thumbprint

“The Whorl of My Thumbprint is an intimate exploration of nature, inside and outside my home. A handcrafted box for each month contains a puzzle, a story and imagery. January through December are small theaters in which various seasonal dramas unfold. Month to month, elaborate threads of diverse and lush biomes reveal themselves as you piece together natural history puzzles.”


“Photosynthesis was originally an exhibit designed for Valley Grove Chapel, that was built in 1862 by Norwegian farmers and is located in Nerstrand, Minnesota. For years I have investigated the flora and fauna of Rice County with an assortment of cameras and tools. I have been shooting through out the seasons, during blizzards and lightning storms, and from morning through evening. The images reproduced here were first housed in leather bound clamshell boxed labeled in Norwegian. The installation in the chapel included tree and glass structures, window blinds and table cloths.”


“Through the lens of my Brownie Hawkeye camera I staged a photograph of a cardinal in a tree outside my bedroom window.  I placed a glass of water with my drawing pencil submerged at an angle on the window’s ledge. The click of the shutter revealed a rather fuzzy image of light refraction and a cardinal sitting on my broken drawing pencil. I was ten years old and thought art and science made a good team.”

Charted Course

“For this exhibition, I examined a series of teaching charts in Carleton College’s biology collection. They were used from the 1820s to the 1960s as visual aids for a wide range of courses including: botany, zoology, biology, geology and anatomy. They were large enough for students to view them from their desks. … The charts in this exhibit explore how we frame the land and birds around us both through language and visual means. From the picture window to Microsoft windows- we struggle to analyze and package our experience. Sharpening pixels, increasing the contrast, removing a telephone wire, I observe, compress and represent. I wonder how one would measure nature’s carrying capacity for images?”

The Nature Cabinet/Navigating Irony

“The Nature Cabinet/Navigating Irony exhibition encompasses a complex and often troubling relationship with nature. The images range from the beauty of the elusive pink dolphins on the Amazon River to the irony of a simulated landscape at Disney World. From the kitchen to Niagara Falls, I’m interested in portraying the breadth of our search for nature’s meaning and how we experience it.”

Sound Suspended

“‘Sound Suspended’ is a mixed-media installation which uses combinations and juxtapositions to integrate the personal and emotional with larger theoretical and social concerns regarding perception, physics, the distinctions between the staged and the real, and our relationship to nature.”

Optic Nerve

“The installation Optic Nerve was housed within the 1887 Romanesque observatory on Carleton campus. Until the Second World War, Carleton’s observatory was used to set time for all the major railroads from Chicago to Seattle. Rising from the middle of the prairie on the rich remains of a watershed glacier it became one of the nations’ first weather stations and published the leading astronomical journal in the country. This exhibition is in response to the historical and scientific use of the observatory, nature and optical experiments. Telescopic and microscopic images included have been printed on canvas, transparency material and photographic paper.”

The Observationist

The Observationist is a permanent installation at the Jodsaas Science Center at Normandale Community College. This installation invites us to consider the relationship between science and art. Still life paintings from the Netherlands in the 17th century often included fruits, vegetables, insects and scientific tools as a kind of microcosm of nature, conveying the idea that art could stop time or surpass death. These artists painted with a meticulously plotted haphazardness.

Siberian Elegy

“In ‘Siberian Elegy,’ Rossi illuminates Stalin’s Reign of Terror and the oppression of the poets voice through an installation of photographs, video, mixed media work, sculpture and poetic texts focusing especially on the life and exile of Jewish poet, Osip Mandelshtam. Mandelshtam’s wife, Nadezhda, saved her husbands poems by hiding them in the burrowed out handles of her pots and pans, sewing them into pillow cases and memorizing thousands of words for decades following her husband’s disappearance.”


“In each of four installations, Rossi overlaps images from Minnesota and Africa, where she recently visited, with those of the human body to illustrate the interconnectedness of life. Each ‘season’ affects the next and features specific metaphors – found objects, animals, organic forms and domestic spaces – all intended to reveal emotion and offer a variety of themes.”


“In this space of curious walls, coldly impersonal beakers become, through associations with their etched words, sensual objects filled with aesthetic qualities. On a light table, transparencies of eggs and leaves become a sort of game to divert us from the structure of everyday thought – an escape into the visceral. The monitor’s images of rushing water and serene landscapes compel us to enjoy the aesthetically pleasing character of nature and dispel our hunger for logic.”


Beginning in 1989, I was an artist raising  three young sons on my own. This experience has played a major role in my work ever since. The McKnight exhibition in 1991 is a reflection of the personal side of loss and love as seen in the pieces Broken Contracts and Sailing to the Edge. Moral Geometry addresses contradiction and paradox through a metaphorical game board that illuminates a culture which often seems to be based on illusion. Supporting my family in the midst of the world’s shifting planes is paramount for me as an artist.

Seven Days

In 1977 with the support of Ted Hartwell, Curator of Photography at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, I created the first mixed media installation for the photography gallery. I traveled for nearly a year through Eastern and Western Europe to capture the changing landscape for this exhibition. The gallery walls were painted gray and fans and low spotlights were installed. Images were sunk in plaster and sand or large plastic bags. The bags moved on the walls and the sculptures generated sound, providing an immersive experience for the audience.


noun. 1 a written or printed work consisting of pages glued or sewn
together along one side and bound in covers: a book of
selected poems | a book on cats | [ as modifier ] : a book