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 social 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. In my work, the unreal becomes tangible.
I am interested in the complexity of human behavior driven by primal, instinctual reactions (unconscious), and culturally-learned responses (conscious). 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 - untamed, dangerous selves. 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 archetypes encapsulating impulses and desires through unexpected juxtapositions.
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; the head is visually distorted as if a slow-motion blur has permanently morphed the physicality. 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 as culture teaches to split and polarize dark and light. 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 suggests 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" attempts too free itself from a constricting web of threads. Several threads restrict the neck threatening suffocation heightened by each thread weighted by a rock.
Several works pair predator and prey relationships including "Fawn or Foe," Fawn or Foe II", and "Fox or Foe." In "Fox or Foe," a fox wears the visage of a wolf as it takes on shapeshifting qualities to trick, deceive, and hunt. The metamorphosis is a metaphor for the ways we navigate different facets of our lives to overcome something and/or escape from reality by retreating into fantasy. Survival is a basic human instinct; our identity is in constant flux fine-tuned by observation and the ability to transform.
My sculptures embody a symbolic language in which I explore themes, including social development, inner confrontation, vulnerability, and violence. 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.