I'm fascinated by the notion that so much of the observable world exists outside our scope of everyday awareness, yet remains within the limits of our sense perception. At any given moment, phenomena are at play all around us, shaping our surroundings and the parameters of our existence, however unacknowledged or accepted as given. Physical laws, fluid dynamics, patterns of growth in nature, and even the sociological and economic models that govern our lives—such frameworks define our experience of reality. I make artwork to examine the aesthetics and implications of these unseen structures that comprise our world yet reside largely beyond everyday consciousness.
nature / the usual politics | 2008 - present
Out of a desire to address some of the trappings and behaviors of society today, I began making pictures of dogs with their noses to the ground, relying upon instincts to guide them. There was of course an element of satire to this approach, but my intentions were and remain rooted more in observation than in criticism. Instinctive behavior, insofar as we are concerned, serves to some degree in most decision-making processes, no matter how analytical and sophisticated our thinking. Presenting canines within a social and material context establishes for me a surrogate humanity, while drawing attention to the animal selves that we make every effort to rise above—even as our lives are filled with behavioral tendencies to insure survival, dominance, and procreation. Depicted among tangled pearls or fashion's latest high-heels, the dogs find themselves amidst a material elite's accoutrements. Through this recontextualization they gain cognizance and likewise suggest how far we go to assert our mastery over primary needs. Here, our extravagances and luxury goods back-handedly illuminate the animal essence we so aspire to transcend. In a world that encourages we aid our every step with products, services and brands, how else shall we define ourselves and make meaning? Responding to this dilemma, these pictures challenge us to reevaluate our nature and encourage us to think further about what guides us as sentient beings.
water drawings | 2005 - 2010
In 2005 I began making pictures using recombined satellite photos. I had been living in New York City for several years and took periodic trips along the Hudson River to points north. In hopes of connecting with the outside world while carrying forward my interest in dynamics, I chose water as my principal building material and subject. I parsed a satellite image of the Hudson into twenty-six pieces and reconfigured its segments, transcribing these individual shapes in pencil onto watercolor paper. The initial result was a vaguely suggestive plant form, every reach of the river overlapping another and growing upward into the white of the page.
The project has expanded to include other rivers, lakes and contours where water meets land. Pictures meant to transform the cartographic into the botanical, and to distill the hydrographic into an essence of dynamism, now unfold into something else. While they retain elements of their origins, these compositions quietly shift, heave and migrate into new territory. It doesn’t so much matter what they do—although any given body of water, when explored through sequential variations, reveals particular tendencies and thus its own identity—but what matters is that the drawings are doing, that they are pictorially active and changing. Through their vitality, these pictures illustrate the otherwise imperceptible flux beneath and around us, be that our changing climate or a slow geological/ cosmological evolution whose time-scale is hard to grasp at best. These drawings both record their source and present themselves as meditations on dynamism. They intend to remind us that change is endless and everywhere, and that it doesn’t stop at the limits of our perception.
tropists | 2003 - 2005
In June 2003 I attended an artist's residency in northern California. My studio looked onto a peculiar lake whose still waters submerged the remains of a redwood forest as a result of an earth-sink. I would drift on a boat or from the shore watch signs of life unfold daily above the submerged and petrifying tree limbs. So I began looking for a way to visually describe the notion of vitality itself, on its most reduced visual terms, and eventually connected the lake's activity to particular botanical tendencies.
Tropism refers to the ability of certain plants to respond quite visibly and often diurnally to an external stimulus such as moisture or sun. Tropists is a collection of works drawing from this phenomenon through the like behavior of botanically suggestive lines and forms. In each image, some unseen force acts upon an array of shapes and stems, uniformly directing their course of growth. Though individual and distinct from one another, the forms traverse space collectively to exemplify a sort of fundamental progression or change attributable to all things living. And so the pictures are meant to convey vitality itself, as apparent in these simplified organic structures.