Play / Ground
Reproducing the hyperbole that defines much of contemporary American culture and augmenting its inherent eccentricities, my art surprises the viewer through monumental scale, comic interplay, and urban camouflage. My work converses with and critiques our manufactured cultural and natural landscapes. Here, the real, the living, the found, the created, and the counterfeit collide.
I unpack urban spaces: gathering physical materials (parking meters, tow trucks, billboards, etc.) and local lore (stories of an ice cream vendor, a meat market's history), I work as an archeologist of our own society. Objects I find and social engagements I observe are suspended in a present context that often goes unnoticed, but is brimming with the potential for humor and quiet tragedy. A slight shift of its elements enriches an over-stimulated culture drained by the constantly quickening pulse of imagery and information. Like an archeologist, I begin to imagine a society based on a specific place and its material culture; in my art I create a potential society. The original culture is still alive, however, and my constructed society, which stakes a claim to reality, inserts itself and is integrated into the living one. For example, in a 2011 work Two Tow’n, two tow trucks tow twin red autos, parked directly across the street from each other. Towed around the block, the cars are then replaced in the same spots; the trucks drive off, only to return to tow the cars again in an endless loop of urban banality. Viewers are treated to a strange stage play, if they are lucky enough to become aware of the situation, which is enacted under camouflage of everyday events in the life of the city.
Often, the audience finds that they themselves are the subjects of the piece, whether through self-reflection, physical proximity, or accidental contact. Pieces ranging from Big Brother-like signage depicting local residents at 30 feet (Face Value, 2003) to prototypes for surveillance mall strollers (StrollerVision, 2006) to a performance employing four glass workers carrying two large one-way mirrors on city streets (Large Glass Co., 2011) actively engage art viewers as well as accidental audiences in public spaces. Complicating ordinary objects and events while implicating the participant, these works question surveillance culture, advertising, and intimacy in our shared spaces.
I often use non-traditional sculpture materials to activate these concepts. CreamCycle and Soft Palate (2010 and 2012), a hanging popsicle ring and an ice cream cone in the shape of the human tongue and throat, are edible sculptures cast of frozen strawberry ice cream, which viewers literally and figuratively consume. In Relativity Tweet, (2010) gallery goers receive a tweet, which rewrites, in 140 characters, Buckminster Fuller’s 264 word telegram that explains Einstein’s Theory to sculptor Isamu Noguchi in 1936. The viewers' interaction with(in) my works becomes an intriguing cultural experiment. Mixing everyday objects and situations with an interactive public, a wryly self-reflexive alloy is produced. The artwork that emerges is the alchemy of the real and imagined, an absurd chimera of what could be, what might be, and what already is.