artist statement

The jolt experienced when encountering a beautiful and vital object informs my work as an artist. Some things are conduits. Some are agents or surrogates, symbols or codes. I create sculptures from these things, with additions from my libraries of paint, glue, adhesives, and building materials. My work often attends to the overlooked, occasionally grubby, inanimate object world that forms and transforms human life. Beauty is inherent in the color, texture, and history of my materials.

Historian Lorraine Daston describes things as paradoxical in her introduction to Things That Talk: Object Lessons from Art and Science. Daston uses Martin Heidegger’s self-sufficient thing to traverse the space between matter and meaning unveiling the thingness of things (Daston, 2004, pp. 20-23). Daston argues that it is the paradoxical nature of things that gives them voice. The synergy of the catalogue of mundane, and sometimes cherished, things in my sculpture creates narrative tension. The meaning-making capacity of materiality is central to my work as a sculptor.

Contemporary “orphaned” objects, fragments of unknown origin and anonymous ownership, frequently function as material in my work. These are not looted archaeological fragments of ancient Greek vases but today’s disjecta membra. My material most often dates to the 20th or 21st century and lacks contextual data or information about its findspot. The gathered shards of plastic, glass, metal, or wood offer an understanding of the customary life and mind of contemporary society.

In addition to history, metaphor, and references to popular culture, the formal qualities of my materials, such as texture, color, form, weight, value, and line, drive the composition of my sculptures.

It is through materiality that my current work protests the limiting image of an artist. My work contemplates heritage, humor, and beauty through the combination and interaction of paint, quotidian objects, and vestiges that frequently serve as carriers of tradition and capsules of inheritance. Some pieces are titled with a textual fragment from literature or from a transcribed bit of conversation. The title adds to the work’s rhetoric.

One of my recent projects, “Collected Things,” is collaborative and with provenance. I create sculptures from personal items and ephemeral materials that once belonged to artists, writers, and thinkers such as Karen Wilken, Joyce Scott, Grace Hartigan, Graham Nickson, Lucy Sante, Rebecca Hoffberger, Carl E. Hazelwood, and Cordy Ryman. The genealogical use of the objects transformed them into things with vitality and historical force. I add my own materials to these things propelling visual conversations as I make something new. Though the pieces are not traditional portraits, they do offer intimate biographical glimpses into the lives of the people.