Creating my piece for Remnants* was not only a great and cathartic way for me to clean out my scary-hoarder-nest paper collection, it’s also been a great reminder of the joy that can come from working large, and working in a gallery space with parameters to flex up against. Keeping this in mind, I approach the ever-looming deadline of ROY’s 2016 call for entries. As usual, pulling together images, updating my resume and filling out the actual entry form have all, combined, cost less time and worry than the damn artist’s statement. (It probably doesn’t help that this is the first time I’ve really written an artist’s statement from scratch since college). Because I have somehow managed to scrape together something coherent a few days before the actual deadline (Monday, 6/22) and in the spirit of collaboration, trust/vulnerability and communicating how much I value your unique voice(s) and insight(s), I’ve decided to share it with you as a fragile, just barely-first-blush-of-a-first-draft.
While my work tends to include a variety of materials, the thread that runs through it all, is a love of stories. Stories (the good ones, at least) are very rarely static. They grow and evolve and lead lives of their own. Even (/especially) the big stories we call History and Truth shift in ways that depend on who is telling them and who is listening. I am fascinated not just in the stories themselves, but also the ways in which they are passed from one person to the next. Especially intriguing are the beautifully ambiguous areas between reality, legend and myth.
Creating objects and environments is how I best like to tell stories. Sometimes these stories are pure fiction- an elongated ‘what if?’ Other times they draw from my own life, though even these tend to be so buried under symbolism, metaphor and hyperbole as to be unrecognizable as fact. In the same way that objects accumulate meaning over time, my work tends to accumulate in different ways as well. Whether I build up or overwork delicate materials, or elaborate upon back-story for an invented secret society, I enjoy the new connections mad as each subsequent layer begins to talk to the previous ones and vice versa.
Stories come alive most when authorship is shared. The more forces who join the telling, the more likely the story is to twist and turn in ways that are exciting to all involved. For this reason, I prefer to keep my work open and interactive and, whenever I can, to invite explicit collaboration. I see the invitation to pause, to make one’s own meaning, to play and to create together as a gift.
Other themes in my work include time, process, humor, obsession and decomposition, especially of that which seems rigid and fixed. Tough the materials I use change, depending on what story I’m telling (or trying to solicit from the viewer), my favorites include thread, found imagery and paper. On a purely practical level, paper is remarkably cheap, abundant and easy to come by in a huge variety of beautiful textures. This makes it unintimidating to work with, both as the maker and as the viewer. Conceptually, I’m drawn to its humbleness. Paper (and works on paper) can feel fragile and temporary but also unprecious. In the Grand Scheme of Art, they’re the quiet ‘to-do’ lists and doodles when held up against more permanent materials.
I invite your honest constructive feedback and thank you in advance for your time and your brains.
*pictures/thoughts to come soon!
*Everything since then has been either a rehash/slight fluffing-up of that one, or a short statement about one piece or body of work, which feels so much easier to get one’s arms around.