I work along two motifs – landscape and artifact. The landscapes may be primordial or alien and are evocative of a sense of place, or belonging, or existential absence. The viewer is always looking out into the landscape and artifacts reference what I imagine to be within the landscape if one keeps going. Artifacts ultimately confirm, or question, any existence. So there is a degree of world building in my work.
Conceptually, using a mass-produced synthetic polymer derived from an organic compound to build an inorganic, post-waste speculative world is an interesting sleight of hand. Practically, polystyrene embodies transformative and plastic properties. It is brittle, vulnerable, and light yet can become slab-like, formidable, and heavy as it soaks up paint. It can be shaped and layered and joined in a modular fashion suggesting relief and I consider the heavily compressed plastic dots that form a sheet of polystyrene to be analogous to pixels.
Ultimately I am interested in the combination of things. To this end, I have recently been gathering curbside foam. Individual pieces of cast foam display clear-cut personality, and in the studio, I combine these foam pieces into larger forms and paint them. The interplay of variation and repetition is the engine of all my work, and I work on multiple pieces at once in obsessive interplay. When a combination of things makes itself into a presence, and stands as a marker, a type of artifact, I keep it.
I reject the idea of the professional artist. I am a studio artist. I am partial to the notion of the artist-as-shaman. Since the virus hit, I see my studio in a different way. It is no longer just a space to paint and assemble – it is now a stage, or landscape, where painting, sculpture, and video are interchangeable parts of a new combination of things.