My art practice is a diary of ideas and concerns that fulfill my need to explore, understand and respond to the world. My work is primarily composed of steel sculptures that reflect where I have been as well as what I have been interested in at particular points throughout my life. I have translated various subject matters into art that have deeply impacted me: from Feminism and history to still life and even a dead tree.
My ideas come from various experiences; however, my most straightforward work derives from an obsession with the visual impact of my everyday life. For example, I have found that museums validate the importance of crafted and historical objects. Museums offer opportunities to connect with artifacts and objects to place me in a historical context with other makers. Through museum visits, I cultivate a connection to the lineage of sculptural history. During such visits, I use a small sketch pad and my cell phone to document objects that strike me. When reviewing these images, I recognize patterns. Often, I discover an attraction to seemingly dismissible objects - it’s not the heroic figure of Hercules that I sketched, but rather his club. Likewise, I can become fascinated with the Animalia sculpture of Antoine-Louis Barye, or a crystal medieval crucifix. These objects begin to compete for my attention and some eventually become worthy of carrying through to a completed sculpture.
The actual process of how I make sculpture varies. First, an idea has to have enough substance to propel me through the intensive sculptural process. To explore its strength, I make preparatory sketches, models and/or maquettes before committing to the work. At other times, I focus on creating designs that are completely unplanned. This second approach allows me to explore new ideas and to keep the work fresh. There is noticeable tension in my spontaneous work where vision, process and tradition collide. Evident in its facture is energy from the tools used. Marks create a noisy documentation visible in scars and blows made by hammers, grinders, and welds. Just about everyone recognizes steel as a common and utilitarian material be it shiny, rusty, sooty black or steely blue. The banality of the material contributes to its unpretentiousness and acts as a foil for the elevated stature that comes from placing it on pedestals for viewing.
With steel, I can create intimate works or monumental sculptures. For intimate works, adding a stand or pedestal allows me to reference my connection to the history and lineage of classical sculpture which literally elevates the importance of a piece. Larger works, such as a chaise lounge, are sized so that their scale creates a presence in a field or garden. There is satisfaction in the challenge of conceiving and making objects in all scales.
I like to ride the edge of recognizability and knowability. I like to dangle the question as to if you can define the object, or if there is enough ambiguity in its making that creates an uncertainty and further engages the viewer. This approach contrasts with more traditional sculpture that often deals with permanence, stability and control.
Working in steel is a natural fit for me. My father worked in a steel related business that has always made me think of this cold industrial material in a personal way. Additionally, my great-grandfather worked in a foundry - I even inherited some of his handmade tools as well as numerous cast objects. As a result, in college, I knew all about tempered steel, hot rolled versus cold rolled steel, and Bessemer furnaces prior to my first class in sculpture.
I have always felt that one needs to be productive in order to feel engaged in the world. The creative act is not about cash capitalism, but rather about commentary regarding the place of humans in a historical context. The urge to make objects helps to explain our reason for existence. I see a continuum in the history of humanity where there exists a desire to build objects in each and every society. I share that longing to create lasting value through my work.