I build large, site-specific installations out of low-end consumer goods. These works often revolve around the theme of nature. They involve hands-on manipulation of such minutia as pipe cleaners, whiffle balls, plastic ware, buttons and string. I use old-fashioned crafts of knitting, knotting and twisting to thread these mass market items to make more durable forms. The dichotomy between my traditional methods and the factory-produced materials creates tension that is both tangible and abstract. Although their structures appear delicate and tenuous, the materials are indestructible.
Walking into one of my installations is like entering a three-dimensional painting. The gallery is filled with trees of transparent color, bold linear elements that sometimes vanish, and horizontal grids suspended from the ceiling out of which grows cascading refuse. There is no one focal point; it is an environment to be explored and experienced. Vines, out of chenille stems, form contiguous lines connecting one part of the space to the other. Clinging to the vines are tattered plastic, strands of buttons, and braided bits of synthetic detritus. Strangely hybrid and fully realized, the hand-fashioned forms can be both beautiful and viral. Although there is destruction, the forest sparkles with transcendent beauty and fragility. A chandelier made of cut-up plastic laundry baskets drips with pearls and tinsel. Mirrored mylar covers the floor like puddles of water reflecting abundance color and chaos above. Echoing the world we live in, this is an unresolved place where complex shifts can occur and unexpected events happen. One of the many contradictions is the elevation of cheap and lightweight consumer products into highly individualized finished pieces. To create something substantial from these bits of ephemera requires a multitude of material. My attraction to these materials is not only their glossy surfaces and bright artificial color but also to their social status as objects: what do these products say about mass taste and what is its relationship to art outside of its given context?
For each new work, I begin with an intuitive vision for the site. Discoveries made during the installation process continually refresh and sharpen that initial vision. In an important way, the viewer’s exploration of the completed work recapitulates my unfolding experience of creating the piece. Because the installations are highly laborious in their construction, I have assistants to hang and attach the structures. As the piece grows denser, it is harder to make changes because the ladders can cause damage when moved through the interwoven sections.
I photograph the finished installations to document the architectural structure and to capture individual moments of visual appeal. In the transformative process from sculpture to photography, sculptural elements achieve a new dynamic.
Many of the shots taken are of elements reflected in mirrored mylar (an often used material). The distortion that occurs from this process fuels a second life for the installation capitalizing on the chaos and exuberance of its dynamic nature. The photographs isolate and distort details within the larger installation, giving the illusion of even greater disorder to the natural landscape.