S T A T E M E N T
I create mixed-media animal sculptures to explore the multiplicity of human behavior. The highly finished artworks feature dramatic, glossy human eyes to clue viewers into the introspective nature of my ideation. My research explores aspects of psychology, mythology, and contemporary monster theory, which reveals how our social, creative, and psychological development relates to animals. I am interested in the complexity of human behavior driven by both primal, instinctual reactions and culturally-learned responses. Humans are domesticated animals. As social creatures, we combat reason versus instinct. Through translating human experience into the form of an animal, we look at ourselves from another viewpoint. The resulting artworks reveal the collective unconscious through portraying archetypes.
In recent years, mass shootings and violence have dominated media stories. In response, I began a series titled "Meeting Our Shadow" to express two distinct archetypes: victim and attacker. Impact I-III are deer because deer are the prey of many species. A rifleman shot the clay figures with thirty-eight special hollow point bullets, which recorded the devastating effect of the projectile. The body positions of the wall-mounted and floor tumbling figures are sensationalized through blurred limbs as if the shots were just fired. The melodrama is balanced by the static position of the third. Devour and Human Shadow represent the attacker at different stages of life through pairing predator and prey. Deer are timid animals, while wolves are aggressive by comparison. Human Shadow is a newborn deer with the shadow of a wolf. Ernest Hemingway stated, "All things truly wicked start from innocence." The statement implicates the murky depths of our unconscious. Each person naturally develops a "shadow" beginning in childhood composed of repressed personality traits. In Devour the wolf has become physical and no longer merely a shadow. The conjoined deer sleeps while the starved wolf chews on its leg. The irregular body is a psychological portrait that disturbs the cultural 'norm.' As viewers approach the wolf, it emits growling sounds. The series goal is to explore the dark side of human nature to engage discussion about healing our "collective shadow" including violence.
The natural behavior of the animal depicted holds a direct relationship to the concept. In Fox or Foe, I sculpted a fox disguised with the head of a wolf, its natural predator. This masking allows the fox to survive. The unreal becomes tangible through sculptural forms. Apparition is a mountain lion sculpture that physically cries. An apparition is an immaterial appearance that seems real and is startling in its manifestation. Many societies have utilized feline icons as metaphors to express human qualities and symbolize human relations. My work continues this lineage.
My sculptures embody symbolic language in which I explore themes including inner confrontation, spirituality vulnerability, and death. I am interested in human behavior from our celebratory moments to disastrous events. In observing the extremes both the dark and light of humanity are present. In understanding our polarities, we establish a new sense of awareness.