ENTANGLEMENTS: Loyola University 2016, Arlington Arts Center 2016, Sondheim Semi Finalist Exhibition 2015
DESCRIPTION FOR ENTANGLEMENTS, CAUSE AND EFFECT AND SUBTLE DISTURBANCE
Much of my free time is spent walking in the woods, along seashores and riverbeds looking intimately at fallen objects, looking up at the sky, looking down at growing and dying organisms and trying to understand the essential tendencies of nature. Water, wind, clouds, rocks, moss, algae, insects, birds. Each of these has a pattern in life that is driven by different motivations, but each of these also lives within an ecosystem that inextricably binds them together. The way a flock of a thousand chimney swifts dive into a chimney one at a time never bumping into one another but moving at the speed of a thousand race cars. The way that the sun rays beam through a billowing black cloud formation just in time to cast a yellow light on the reddest Japanese Maple in the whole neighborhood. The way a powerful wind storm can churn up the waves in Lake Huron so much that is looks like the ocean. These are the things that influence my work. Within each of these observations is the essence of Nature.
The natural world can be simultaneously beautiful and destructive. Although humans have developed technologies and medicines to overcome the powers of nature, we are often reminded of its omniscient force when we are faced with natural disasters or incurable disease. For me, nature is a friendly presence, but I am also wary of its ability to surprise us with unpredictable behaviors. I honor its strength by never assuming that I know too much and by keeping my sense of individual power in check.
I am baffled by the way nature disintegrates, destroys, rejuvenates and restores itself in spite of human interference. I am interested in the rhythm of life that beats inside living organisms, as well as the revolving cycle of decay and growth that occurs in the world as a whole.
I feel that this work underscores the opposing forces in Nature: Magnetism vs. repulsion; contraction vs. expansion; growth vs. decay; and beauty vs. ugliness. The combination of these polarities is functioning internally and externally in Nature simultaneously. Though these terms would tend to suggest both positive and negative forces working at odds within Nature, it is important to withhold judgment when considering the framework in which these forces function. Whether a process is benign or malignant is almost irrelevant because each process operates under a basic presumption: It is just doing what it's been programmed to do. Every organism, whether it is nourishing or damaging (to humans), ends up going through this process of decay as well. You see it in everything. The only reason we judge it as good or bad is in the context of whether it hurts or helps us. This is a reflection of what I feel is happening in nature
When I sit down in the studio to create this work, I don't have a grand plan of how it is going to turn out. I allow my response to visual stimuli navigate me through the creation of multiple elements that will eventually go into the installation. I tend to be keenly in tune with my surroundings, which can be both a benefit and a curse. I say curse because I sometimes feel overwhelmed by the expansive visual stimuli within the world. But this is what drives my desire to work slowly and methodically, meditatively building one small element on top of another. I set before me a task that is seemingly impossible to complete as I collect, cut, paste, and draw everything by hand. However, this time-consuming, arduous process forces me to spread the task out over time and gives me a chance to truly examine the materials and the subject to their fullest capacity. By focusing at smaller details, I am able to concentrate on subject matter that is easier to digest.
The making of the elements is a very controlled process (I am compensating for the fact that I have no control over Nature). The only elements I can control are my detailed drawings and cut paper. While the task of making the objects takes months and sometimes years to complete, the installation itself is a fluid, intuitive process that is conceived on the spot and completed within a week. As I approach the gallery, there is no preconception of how the work will take shape. The landscape seems to grow of its own volition and often echoes what goes on in nature, both inside and outside our bodies.
I use a lot of recycled materials: Phone books, wax, toilet paper rolls, old drawings, found paper, dirt. Though I am not making a political statement on conservation, my consideration of materials is a personal choice and is reflective of my desire not to leave a heavy footprint on the earth with my art; I want my art to add awareness without adding clutter.
Moreover, I feel that it is important to use materials that have a long process, or history, behind them. That is, I consider the materials and their origins and the processes by which they become transformed into objects used in art. Basically, I am considering two separate but integral levels; there is the actual object and from where it came and then there is the transformation of the object into something new.
I believe if the work is successful it should compel the viewer to recognize himself/herself on a more cellular level, like recognizing what we are within our bodies. Think of a mirror as a microscope: Instead of seeing a face or any external features, you see the internal make-up of the person. The subconscious may then begin to recognize that we are all made up of the same elements as every other living organism on earth.
I also want the viewer to notice things they might normally disregard or overlook and to be reminded of the invisible world that exists beneath the surface of our awareness.
I encourage the audience to come into the space and be enveloped by it and allow themselves to respond to it. Do not feel that you have to step back from it and maintain a safe distance. I invite you to get close to the materials, to smell them, to view them from different angles, going as far as to lay on the floor and look up at the components from your back! It is important that you interact with the piece.
Therefore, this is not a static piece of artwork. It is a piece that continues to grow in my studio and actually changes as it travels from gallery to gallery; it is evolving and developing as it goes from one place to the next. I don’t consider the components as finished works of art. Instead, I consider them as works in progress.