S T A T E M E N T
I create mixed-media animal sculptures to explore the multiplicity of human behavior. Media stories and observing human interactions fuel my creative impulses. 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, literature, film, media, and contemporary monster theory, which reveals how we develop socially. From these resources, I extract iconography to inform contemporary issues. Narratives composed in literature, films, and the media influence our contact with the physical environment; how we conceive it, how we shape it, how we construct it, and how we experience it.
I am interested in the complexity of human behavior driven by primal, instinctual reactions and culturally-learned responses. Prominent cultural influences include history, religion, science, media, and literature. 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. Animals are devoid of race, gender, and body politics. The natural behavior of the animal depicted holds a direct relationship to the conceptual framework. 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 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 facial expressions and blurred limbs revealing the weapon's force. The melodrama is balanced by the static position of the third fawn lying dead, creating an interplay between fiction and reality. The spatial strategy pulls viewers in to examine the victims.
"Devour" and "Human Shadow" represent the attacker at different stages of life through pairing predator and prey. "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 the juxtaposition suggest the complexity of the attacker's character and motivations. By focusing on allusions to fierceness, monstrosity, and mutation the work creates a place where the physicality alludes to a fascinating paradox of attraction and repulsion. As viewers approach the wolf, it emits growling sounds.
I utilize hidden technology to create unexpected encounters for the viewer. "Apparition" is a reclining mountain lion sculpture that physically cries. An apparition is an immaterial appearance that seems real and is startling in its manifestation. Behind the powerful feline are three church frame windows representing Christian spiritual spaces. Many societies have utilized feline icons as metaphors to express human qualities and symbolize human relations. The co-existence of strength and vulnerability lures the viewer to consider the flaws of value structures.
"Derailed" and "Entangled" embody the complexity of personal struggles. The evocative forms encourage us to become aware of the plurality of experience, the workings of our mind, and to think critically about our tendency to project our experiences onto others. "Derailed" is a life-sized mountain lion sculpture clinging by its teeth from a knot of rope. Tense muscles and extended claws activate the twisted body. The fox in "Entangled" is twisted as it attempts too free itself from a constricting web of thread engulfed in root structures.
My sculptures embody symbolic language in which I explore themes including social development, inner confrontation, 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.