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 my ideation's introspective nature. My research explores psychology, literature, film, media, and monster theory, revealing 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. Instinctual forces also drive behavior. 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 - focused on our untamed, dangerous selves.
The resulting artworks reveal archetypes encapsulating impulses and desires through unexpected juxtapositions. "We Will Rise" is an encounter of a fox biting the jugular vein of its predator, a wolf. It represents mistreated individuals
within social structures, resulting in revolting behavior to reclaim their power and voice. In "Fox or Foe," a fox wears a wolf visage as it takes on shapeshifting qualities to trick, deceive, and hunt. The metamorphosis from prey to a predator is a metaphor for how we navigate different facets of our lives to overcome something or escape. Survival is a basic human instinct finely tuned by observation, causing our behavior to be in constant flux. The natural behavior of the animal depicted holds a direct relationship to the conceptual framework.
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 through the soft, malleable clay. 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 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 life stages through pairing predator and prey, relating to the complexity of the attacker's character and motivations. Deer are timid animals, while wolves are aggressive by comparison. "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 us 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. As viewers approach the wolf, it emits growling sounds. The irregular body is a psychological portrait that disturbs the cultural 'norm.' By focusing on allusions to fierceness, monstrosity, and mutation, the physicality alludes to a fascinating paradox of attraction and repulsion. The goal is to explore the dark side of human nature to heal our "collective shadow," including violence.
"Derailed" and "Entangled" convey coming to terms with a false sense of control over internal and external influences. The evocative forms encourage us to become aware of the plurality of experience, the workings of our mind, and think critically about our tendency to project our experiences onto others. The sculptures embody the complexity of personal struggles. "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. Likewise, the fox in "Entangled" is twisted as it attempts to free itself from a constricting web of thread leading to stones.
My sculptures embody a symbolic language in which I explore themes, including social development, inner confrontation, vulnerability, violence, and escapism. 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.