Artist Statement

I am an observation-based representational mixed-material sculptor. In this age where we are undergoing a crisis of attention, my project is one of sustained close looking and awareness of small, even miniscule sensations in localized areas felt and observed in my own body. I make objects that project those isolated sensations – objects where disparate materials and shapes fit together to represent, as closely as I can muster, the observable facts of that sensation. Can the image (the gestalt interpretive experience of a work) and the material and gestural facts (the set of discreet formal elements from which an image might arise), be inextricably linked? Identifying, studying, revealing and emphasizing these linkages is the focus of my work. I allow that a single work can take years to be fully realized. Imagery is slippery, things get complicated fast, and everything counts.

I arrive at forms through simultaneous observation of both my materials and my own features – as images (by looking directly, in a mirror, or from a photograph), as structures in isolation (not fragments but parts, nameable), and proprioceptively (as I feel them to be in a haptic sense). Our proprioceptive sense is the sixth sense to the classic five of sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell. It is the body’s gauging of itself, how we navigate and how we coordinate our parts. Proprioception is unique among the senses in that both its object and its effect are entirely interior. In working, I look to my body’s sense of itself to guide image, material, and structural decisions. I aim to make this interiority visible physically. I believe that deep listening to material and process cultivates awareness of our proprioception, which brings the work of making into an awareness of what constitutes the self.

Material choice is an improvisational and collaborative aspect of my practice. I find almost all of my materials by keeping a close eye out for what may be left behind by others’ making, for discard piles and shop effluent. I am a gleaner, I home in on chunks of matter that have the potential to be re-worked, repaired, and re-figured. Studio research becomes materials research: I actively engage with experts in the materials that I use, be they utility workers with heat-fusible LDPE discarded from gas-line construction, paleogeologists for marble from a rare outcropping in Eastern New Jersey, or a cherry burl salvaged by a forester in the Southern Berkshires after an ice-storm. I was raised by tradesfolk, and I always have the question: what is the sensibility, the respect and care, that tradespeople bring to the materials of their work? I work as a sculptor to honor the place materials have in intimate relationship to human need, human ingenuity, and, especially, human hands. This requires sharing a sensibility with those students of a material, or with the designer-fabricators who are my touchstones. If my work is a series of echo-locations to the statement “I am here,” then the questions I am up against are “who am I?”, “where is here?”, and “can that be communicated?” To get at these questions, I work momentary, even fleeting, bodily sensations into a material object of heft, and craft, and sustained attention.