INTRODUCTION – JOURNEY to the CENTER of the COMMONPLACE: The ancient root of the word ‘world’ (mundus) is also the source of the word for commonplace (mundane). Contemporary advances in science and technology have expanded the knowable ‘mundus’ far beyond mundane perceptions. Twin pillars of contemporary experience are located among quasars at the edge of the universe and quarks deep within the atom. While these ultra-micro/macroscopic explorations excite the imagination, they divert attention from the substances shimmering in our midst. My art foregoes expanded and intensified perceptions at the frontiers of scale to celebrate sensual interactions with the commonplace.
Value, whether it applies to antiques, real estate, or religious relics, accrues because of rarity. My art reverses this cultural principle. It assigns value to components of the material environment that are not only commonplace; they are either ignored or treated with disdain. Thus, the rarity component enters my art practice because the materials I engage (bark, acorns, lichens, feathers, moss, twigs, mushrooms) are rarely present in the lives of technologically and industrially dependent populations. Yet each of these common life forms has undergone millennia of functional and formal evolutionary refinements, and each offers opportunities for grounding through sensory gratification, and transcendence through multi-species communion.
My art enables these intimate forms of interaction because familiarity with the materials inherent to our planet is essential to reforming the neglectful, wasteful, and harmful behaviors that define prevailing lifestyles.
The brooches emerged as a strategy to fulfill my artistic mission within institutional situations where foraging outdoors and creating communal artworks are not feasible. I compose the brooches with materials I collect from my woods to give away. These gifts are not merely jewelry. People who select one from many first examine the wondrous variability of these materials; each brooch is unique. Furthermore, as jewelry, the brooches are associated with items of value. Because their value is disassociated from commerce, I convey that their value derives from a non-monetary source. Most significantly, by wearing their brooches over their hearts, a physical connection occurs at a part of the body that is primed for discovering the material vitality the organic materials emit. This physical connection could never be gained by observing art.
Welcome to My Woods
Interactions with the public are a component of every exhibition of my artworks.
Typically I create zones in the gallery space. Each is devoted to a particular form of sensory interaction: MASS & WEIGHT, FORM & BEAUTY, TOUCH & TEXTURE, VOLUME & DIMENSION, FLAVOR & AROMA. Each zone consists of five guided explorations with materials that I foraged from my woods: leaves, vines, bark, seeds, bones, pinecones, sap, etc. Visitors are invited to engage with these overlooked materials and share their experience by contributing to a communal narrative of discovery. Since all this activity occurs in the space, I create assemblages of the same materials to hang on the walls. Each is approximately 8” x 10”. Their small size ensures that attention is not diverted from the interactive component of the exhibition, and because their size reinforces the close scrutiny that these intimate interactions encourage.
Welcome to My Woods series»
BioBoulders and IceBoulders
I work with boulders because, unlike pebbles and cobbles, boulders associate stone with durability and stasis. As such, they contribute significance to a rarely acknowledged fact about stone – it is not stable. Stone metamorphizes, like life. I also dissolves, like ice. In both cases stone changes over time. BioBoulders relay the role of living moss, algae, fungi, lichens, and microorganisms in altering stone. IceBoulders recall the role of the Ice Age in gouging and dislodging the stones of the Earth to form the current topographies. These BioBoulders are created with plaster laid upon a wire armature. I methodically cover the entire surface with small findings from my woods. My aesthetic goal involves gradual harmonious progressions that characterize the tempo and aesthetics of geological change. My IceBoulders are formed in molds and frozen. Each contains items that reference the current condition of woods that display the ongoing carving capacity of ice.