My broad definition of sculpture and varied approaches to making it enable me to modulate among different kinds of processes: sometimes making discrete objects, other times creating environments. My methods are usually labor intensive and the end products betray little evidence of their making.
Lately, I have been building and arranging miniature chairs and tables on patterned floors in order to explore common histories. Each sculpture proposes some sort of assembly, whether a lecture, panel discussion, or small meeting. The settings are sparse – no figures or details other than furniture, floors, and sometimes partial walls. The absence of attendees places an intended assembly in a peculiar past/future tense, more dynamic by virtue of its open-ended potential than the specifically-defined but unknown event for which furniture has been arranged. The furniture placement suggests relationships and sometimes establishes hierarchies among participants without telling a particular story.
I see my current sculptures as matrices on which narratives may be built. As with any abandoned vernacular spaces: shuttered factories, failed shopping centers, railroad right- of-ways, the spaces I construct hold residual energy of what has taken place there, though the specific human dramas are not revealed. In like manner, spaces in preparation - a stadium under construction or a boardroom set for an upcoming meeting - hold the latent energy of future events.
While viewers often ascribe an editorial intent to the work: about bureaucracy, disempowerment of the individual or the tedium of public forums, what I am interested in is the overall dynamic of the assembly - its spatial characteristics and any narrative possibilities they may support.
I have in this current work returned to an investigation of romantic interiors and grand spaces begun in prior years. Those earlier architectural works described psychically inhabitable space where narratives might occur. Some, notably “Mesa” and “Office Tower” exist on two human scales, merging into a hybrid of architecture and furniture.
Installation and outdoor works follow different threads. Solargraph and Three Opposites are both composed of painted airtight metal containers, which when heated by the sun or cooled at day’s end, expand or contract audibly – like a cookie sheet. Solargraph marginally functions as a clock, marking a linear passage of time and the cyclical passage of day and night, but at a variable and unpredictable pace from day to day. The piece plays with the idea and possible effects of measuring time through unconventional means. Three Opposites illustrates a seeming contradiction proposed by a linguistic idea I once read about, referring to “perfect and imperfect nots.” The black house seems to have two perfect opposites: its color opposite, white, and its reflective opposite, silver. Again, each of these three will react to the sun differently, absorbing heat at different rates, and sounding at random.
Anti-Rust, an altered recreation of a retail paint display, explores inversions of purpose (product and container) and event (corrosion and preservation). Factory-made store shelves are filled with rusted paint cans that have been sandblasted and re-painted in the colors of the paint company’s line of marine enamels, with the idea of reversing normally consecutive events - protecting metal after it has corroded, displaying paint cans after the paint has been used, and stacking and storing items long after their use value has expired.
All Colors is the product of several of my interests: in common manufactured objects that become culturally ubiquitous, in functional potential or latency (in this case empty containers), and in the saturated synthetic colors of injection-molded plastic. It also touches on obsession and hoarding. Hobbyist collectors commonly qualify the artifacts they seek in order to frame and validate the assembly as a proper collection. They then collect for completion. Once all variations have been acquired, the collection is finished and the process ends. The set then becomes an artifact in its own right. For a curated group exhibition with the theme of relentless pursuit, I decided to collect all the standard colors of buckets and any custom colors I could acquire. The exact number of colors extant is of course unknown and the work expands very slowly over time, as new colors are discovered. The collection is only truly complete in that it includes all available buckets.
Poverty Line accurately records a section of a local supermarket aisle as I photographed it, where low-cost subsistence food directly abuts the pet food section - a perhaps accidental, but bothersome coincidence - and one where the boundary is often blurred by economic necessity. When I saw the physical juxtaposition of the two products, I began to look at other lines of demarcation, whether imposed naturally, accidentally, legally, or for sake of convenience, such as the line where the pavement on a highway changes at the border between two counties, the narrow edge of real estate between adjacent parallel fences, or the exact line of drainage between one watershed and the next. These lines are energized by the ramifications of crossing them, whether it is that rain drains to the Hudson River on one piece of ground, and to the Delaware two feet away, or whether one is buying for the cat or buying for dinner. While my present focus is primarily the miniature furniture installations, I continue to look at boundaries as the subject of future work.