who + why
Being raised by a german engineer, I started my life as a tinkerer and builder by taking things apart from an early age. Usually with the intention of trying to be helpful and repair broken things. My parents soon discovered I wasn't much help. In fact, I never fixed much at all, owing to an inclination to subjectively reassemble the broken object. Unfortunately, for my parents and siblings, this wasn't like Ikea, when you have some parts left over, but you still have a perfectly usable bookcase. This was more a kind of purposeful (albeit well-meaning) rearrangement of parts in order to form a kind of new and alternative object. This tinkering and curiosity informs my artistic process – My love of myriad materials with an intention and concern to construct an alternate world, or perhaps a world within a world with the language of visual connections. The process is part organization, part chaos. It's also quite analog, labor based, and meditative. I believe in the precepts of craft, of using one's hands, and workmanship.
When I make a sculptural piece, there are usually hundreds of parts and I interact with every bit, no matter how small. It all goes through my hands and is acknowledged, like we have to get to know one another. The materials go from being somewhat strange to strangely familiar, even oddly revelatory, transforming intended function and practical use. It's a give and take, as sometimes pieces or parts don't get on all that well with me and, like writing, they are edited and deconstructed.
I'm a constructivist at heart and my process is one of intuitive arranging, assembling and joining. The components are less parts, than parts of parts. The material, say a drawing, is deconstructed only to be constructed again in a new context. Very little of the material I choose to use is left over and often this little pile of scraps, delicately existing on my table is it's own unique piece.
In a sculptural, paper based work like Isola, placing hundreds of hand-painted paper dots on pins, the form becomes elevated, literally and symbolically. There's a sculptural effect, as it creates three-dimensional space. But it's the rising of a singular isolated mundane material within part of a larger community which intrigues me. Isola, the Italian word for island, conjures the idea of simultaneous isolation and connectedness, a place where new unique, original communities, or little utopias might be formed. We see this in nature but the idea is also evident in the digital world – A singular person on a device in the middle of a desert is now theoretically able to connect to an endless sea of people. A disconnected connectedness perhaps.
In the piece "Everything That Rises Must Converge" the title is from Flannery O'Conner's short story, though she first discovered it in the writings of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, the French theologian and paleontologist:
"Remain true to yourself, but move ever upward toward greater consciousness and greater love. At the summit you will find yourselves united with all those who, from every direction, have made the same ascent. For everything that rises must converge."
Living and working in a studio on a farm along the James River has had an immense influence on my work. I've always loved being with nature, but I've come to see my work in more organic terms. In the paper dot pieces, all circles, the cycles of life, the seasons, and an ever changing world under a veil of constancy. In nature I find the non-intellectual sense of just being very rewarding, like waking up to life removed from the everyday frenzy of the human drama. A place where time is gold.
Nature and art make perfect allies. Both are responsive and revelatory. They are mysterious yet unfold and expand before us. They are perspective based and being so are subjective, i.e. we all experience them uniquely, differently. Experiencing nature and art are vital to our well being. It’s a never ending unfolding. The more we look, the more questions we have. The more we look, the more strange and beautiful life, in all it's endless forms, becomes.