My work explores the potentials of unexpected, mass-produced materials both to create multiple scales of spatial experience and to evoke open-ended personal associations.
I am inspired by the materials themselves, which I select based on my instinct for their imagined potential rather than a preconception of a finished product. The inherent limits of each material provide a creative friction that opens up new opportunities for discovery. Each piece is an experiment, a spontaneous process of searching for an elusive moment/spirit.
My early work focused on small, two-dimensional collages that incorporated drafting supplies now considered obsolete in the digital age: line tape, lettering sets, masking tape, and other self-adhering office supplies. Many years ago, in my work in city planning and architecture, these were essential tools to convey precise, measured information. For a decade or more they sat forgotten in my tool box, relics from a previous age, like old retired soldiers. In my collages these machine-made devices, which were originally intended as supportive elements to add graphic information, are the main characters expressing their own individual personalities. They communicate abstract emotion rather than information. Each element has its own voice and it changes/transforms endlessly depends on how I play with it, similar to a musical instrument.
More recently, my work has moved up in scale and out of the frame to include wall installations in which I use everyday materials such as sewing pins, map tacks, plumbing washers, snap buttons, deflated balloons and many other small items that anybody can find at a typical hardware store. In these room-size pieces I consider the unique physicality of each object—weight, flexibility, softness—and try and maximize their expressive possibilities while maintaining a sense of intimacy. Working in three dimensions provides an opportunity to engage the viewer from multiple perspectives as the experience of the piece varies dramatically based on the vantage point and proximity of the observer.
“…the idea of creating a new shadow on the earth has never lost its fascination…” Arthur Miller
Trawling refers to how I discover and collect my materials—trailing a metaphorical ﬁshing net behind me everywhere I go. Therefore the materials that I catch in my net are often unpredictable and random. Most of them are mass-produced commodities which were invented for very speciﬁc purposes. They are everywhere but not noticeable and they are used all the time but often they don't get any attention.
Sometimes I patiently collect one kind of material (bread clips/plastic caps etc) over many years without knowing exactly what I will do with them. And other times I impulsively grab a bag of everyday items such as plastic cable ties in a hardware store because I am curious of what else they can become beside what was intended.
I see quiet beauty in these objects and am inspired by their possibilities as well as their limits. I assemble them in a simple way without forcing the individual items to transform into something new. Borrowing these objects from their everyday context and placing them in an unpredictable arrangement offers a chance to see things differently.
I try to honor the individuality of each element by installing them in a manner that allows them to be returned to where they originally belong to when the show is over. I see each object like a musical instrument with its own unique voice and each installation is a brief gathering to create an ensemble performance.