For many years I’ve pursued two or more directions in my work more or less simultaneously. While they might have little in common, each group of work is the result of a process that fuses material, visual, and intellectual labor as a mode of exploration and discovery. This way of working opposes cultural assumptions which elevate conceptual labor in relation to the material act of making by integrating physical effort, visual discernment, and thought. This matters to me because the way we make things both reflects and informs our ability to imagine and shape the world.
The most recent of the wall constructions are the group called Kites — lightweight constructions made from wood and plywood. Like drawing, they are an arena of provisional inquiry and I begin each one knowing little about what it will become. I find their shape and relation to the wall though repeated drawing, cutting, and joining. Even late in the process I often edit objects by cutting or attaching, particularly if the piece begins to seem too familiar. A piece is done when it continues to surprise me in some way — a particular a state between fugitive and permanent, fractured and whole, open and dense, allusive and actual. Although I’m not interested in litigating definitions of painting or sculpture, the color in the wall constructions obviously relates to painting in the way it flattens or bends space and suggests ambiguities. In its relationship to the material form and the wall, the color plays slippery games with shape and light while also confirming the actuality of the the object by adding weight or articulating form.
I started working in clay in 2016. Having spent most of my life constructing things with hard materials, I felt the need to subvert the skills, tools, and habits that virtually all my work had relied on and which began to feel like a joyless problem. In fact, the histories of modern sculpture, western architecture, and technology are largely defined by a grammar of construction involving calculated operations of cutting and joining. Unlike things constructed from hard materials, clay allows form to emerge through many equal incremental gestures, without the material and conceptual hierarchies that construction requires. Unlike a piece of plywood, clay has no characteristic shape; it is the most primal of materials, and likely the first material shaped by human hands. It resists calculated planning, and connects us to the elemental human act of shaping. The group of large clay objects, Indelibles, are made by adding one pinch of clay to another, with every gesture playing an equal role in determining their form. By identifying emphatically with the objects themselves, color plays a different role in my clay work. The color of Indelibles occupies and charges the space between and around the objects and viewers. As a single work composed of discrete objects, the work is both a collection of idiosyncratic individuals, and an infinitely variable and inhabitable field of shape, color, and light.