Embodiment -Salvaging A Self
This series represents a search for a new kind of "utility" after life has had its way with us. I took to my art over the last couple years to capture my struggle with a newly diagnosed autoimmune condition that threatens my physical health and mobility. (It also bears noting that in my early 40s I had to have a couple titanium joint replacements.) I use this personal experience, and the cast-off items I find and collect in gritty spaces that I explore, to create images incorporating sculptural objects I make, found objects, a little bit of both, and self-portraits — all in some way about standing up, standing tall (I’m 5’10”) and holding it all together, literally (glue, pins, tape, staples…) and figuratively. Throughout, there’s a question of solidity, and underlying fragility, that is an especially urgent theme to me.
Garages, sheds, side or back yards. Here, in areas not necessarily intended for public view, we attempt to manage our stuff. We collect it, pile it up, contain it, maintain or neglect it, categorize, store and conceal it. These are the spaces I like to rummage around, where I see people amid their stuff, falling into a certain order and revealing unexpected compositions, and sometimes pieces of truth about themselves.
I experience these photo shoots as a sculptor in a gigantic studio, where I have to search for the materials being offered to me in the environment. I find the image when an everyday object with its own gravitational field reaches out to me and demands to be acknowledged with a certain gesture, pose or contortion. Sometimes that's enough, and sometimes I have a slight hand in modeling or removal. In assembling this body of work, I aim to share the delight I experience in discovering otherwise unperceived possibilities in ordinary things, and then in connecting seemingly unrelated images. Are they found, formed or a little of both? I hope the question remains, and provides some amusement, while also asking us to consider what is worthy of being sculpture, and even art.
Much within these compositions is found and undisturbed. Found images may appear staged, however, and staged images may appear found. My intent is to create a sense of intrigue, tension or mystery, using whimsy and dissonance within a scene that is, yet, familiar or recognizable. I try to use this familiarity, along with color and form, to invite viewers in and compel them, once there, to ask questions about little disturbances or surprises, and, ultimately, about the tension between truth and fiction, in even the prettiest scenes of domesticity.