General Artist Statement
My work draws upon significant personal experiences that illuminate the extremities of human consciousness: altered or heightened states of physical, psychological, or emotional condition. In these cumulative moments, which are characterized by their intense, transgressive, revelatory, and often dream-like nature, I find terrain for contemplation and investigation. Seeming to exist simultaneously in dichotomous spaces, perhaps pulled inside out through opposing forces, these dialectical moments expose the complexity of territories between the intellect and the senses, places where the logical mind and subconscious interface with a deeper sense of being.
Through the fragmented, layered, and surgical process of collage, I seek to investigate surreal areas of radical juxtaposition. Symbolic cultural imagery related to the body, birth, death, marriage, sexuality, and “right of passage” rituals is often employed to discuss fears, desires, and anxieties concerning the transitory nature of life and the contemporary human condition. I am particularly interested in paradoxical symbolism associated with ceremonies that both celebrate and mourn beginnings, endings, and the idea of forever, as these traditions often hold a mirror to the fact that we exist concurrently in both fixed and in-between spaces. Exploring tensions between beauty and the grotesque, constraint vs. comfort, and dominance vs. submission, I intend to create a visual language of archetypal imagery that can trigger an introspective psychological experience for the viewer, transpired by coinciding feelings of intrigue and aversion.
Recent Work (2017-Current)
My recent work is inspired by self-experiential moments when the imaginary-visual and the material-haptic bump up against each other, those instances when you perceive yourself as both connected to and removed from your own sense of being.
I have been thinking about the word “circumscription” a lot, as tied to perceptions of selfhood and otherness. I’m interested that it means both the act of being limited, defined, or restricted to part of a pre-determined taxonomy, and also the implication of a metaphorical and/or physical surrounding boundary. Looking at the body as a structural metaphor, the skin serves as a boundary between our internal musculature and the external environment. But it also serves as a cultural signifier for identity in terms of race, gender, and age. While our skin itself circumscribes, the cloth we wear to protect our skin adds another layer of literal and symbolic circumscription.
I am interested in what it means to consider cloth and skin as metonymic, while acknowledging the distance and closeness between the two as we encounter them through touch and vision. I am also interested in considering this type of perceptual experience beyond that of just the individual, how we experience ourselves as present and absent in the context of collective or communal bodies, and whether such contexts are systematically imposed upon us or we self-subscribe (or are circumscribed) to them.
The collages are primarily assembled from self-produced and found photographs of skin and cloth. Photographs of the inside of my own body from a recent ovarian surgery also serve as source material, along-side photographs I’ve shot of liquids in motion, as well as objects that bind or constrain, such as rope and ribbon. The found images are culled from printed matter including wedding magazines, porn, and genre publications like “Horse & Rider.” Often, it is difficult to discern which is which in the final piece.
The soft sculptures are hand and machine sewn from clothing, rope, hair, and rubber, materials that appear as image-based icons for thresholds of corporality and cyclicality in my collages, but have only recently made their way into my practice in their three-dimensional forms. Culled from the most intimate to commercial sources, such as my own closet to bridal shops on Amazon.com, satins in blood red, chocolate, taupe, and pink are metonymic for both the inside and outside of the body. They represent material manifestations of disembodiment, the strange body, all of the fixings with no middle.
Aspects of my process can be looked at much like a combination of stream of consciousness and constrained writing techniques. I find, produce, and manipulate source materials as I go, working within a fixed set of thematic, conceptual, or visual constraints. Pulling from a personal archive of found images and objects, as well as my own photographs and clothing, I embrace the element of chance in finding and placing pieces, as I enjoy exploring the tension between control and chaos. In dialogue with historic techniques and concepts utilized by the Surrealists, these methods allow for an automatic processing of visual and visceral information on a semiotic level, an intuitive sense of sight that is both linked to and detached from our contemporary mass media experience.