Manda's practice intersects artistic process, the sciences, and community engagement through material investigation, research, and environmental/biological content. Central themes to the work include: Conservation, Mammalian Lineage, Paleontology, Taphonomy (the study of the processes by which an organism is buried, decays and becomes fossilized), Decomposition, and Re-purposed Found Objects. She further explores and questions the process of artmaking itself in relation to content and context.
The studio has become laboratory to research and experiment with materials. Manda makes her own encaustics, oyster concrete, and handmade papers, while also using local small business oil paints and less-toxic/non-toxic studio supplies. Honey, fair trade coffees, curbside found objects, non-point source pollution from hikes and beach cleanups, cleaned bone from deceased animals, and charcoal/graphite make up a large percentage of materials in use. The evolution of the studio practice is ongoing, seeking to make the creation of the piece a little more earth-friendly, while trying not to compromise the integrity of the art. Not a perfect practice, but a journey to research and share studio experimentation and effects on the art and environment.
Manda received a Master of Science in Arts Administration from Drexel University. Her thesis research explored the role of art in the global climate change movement through artist and scientist interviews across the United States and Europe. Research included the need, barriers, artist/scientist relationship, funding, and impact of art that addresses climate change.
She holds a BFA in Painting, with a minor in Art History, from Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University and a BS in Ecology & Evolution, with a minor in Evolutionary Anthropology, from the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, Rutgers University.
Manda is Executive Director of Frontline Arts, a NJ-based non-profit arts organization with a mission to connect and build communities through socially engaging arts practices rooted in papermaking and printmaking.
She is also a freelance grant writer and non-profit consultant for the arts sector.