2015 Artis't Statement - a bit outdated, but still relevant.
I grew up in a haunted house. As a child, the odd things that go bump in the night seemed normal to me, like they were the explanations of the noises and happenings backstage behind a thick, dense curtain of reality of which I could never find the edges to slip myself through. As I grew up, I became more and more in tune with an inherent desire to peal back that veil, to try to decipher how my universe worked and to give explanations to what seemingly had no strings. That desire led me through the phases of my life and into an art practice where I have still have room left to fill with questions and insights into how to bridge spaces between the phantasms of unseen planes and the tangible realities of existence. With that, I soon came to realize that everyday we are surrounded by ghosts: not merely supernatural entities, but temporal, fleeting moments – ephemeral in nature, disappearing often as soon as they make themselves known. A similar notion can be applied to the nature of art, specifically installation.
Theater can also be similarly attributed. Despite the seriality of performance, a live act truly happens live only once – both for the audience and for the performer. A first, true experience cannot be recreated. In fact, repeated performances simply retrace the steps once bravely outlaid to form a familiar path, where one then follows the now trodden road due more to habit than to forging. (Yet that is not to discount the exploration in familiar terrain and the finding of new in the familiar – conversely, much meaning that we find in our paths is only reached by reexamination.) Furthermore, fourth wall of theater is like a glass window that the audience can see through, but never physically enter. Memory is like that wall. People often expect to be manipulated by theater (and also by film), and in engaging with the medium, they allow their belief systems to be temporarily suspended - beliefs in what is acceptable, capable and possible in the natural world. The same is true with memory and the transient, malleable recollection of history. Through our interpretation of events, we create our own fictions and our stories of how we came to be.
In my work, I stage scenarios where an audience can enter the space of my exploration into environmental memory. This allows for an immersion into an abstraction of space, breaking the fourth wall picture plane into four experiential dimensions. I then call upon material to make a physical recollection, a documentation of a moment, a freeze frame in what our brain sees as a linear time trajectory. Not surprisingly, photography and video or often mediums of choice. Yet also is printmaking, where a hand can have power over the lines of pathways, the layers to the road, the history of the mark.
That abstraction of history and space through interpretive recollection is something immensely important to my work. If we’re speaking of history, we know from relativity that time is not linear, but that everything exists at once; that the past, the present and the future are all congruently happening at the same, well, time. Indeed through quantum mechanics, what we all call reality can be read as one large abstraction, albeit based on the balance between qualitative and quantitative data. Therefore, there is already a level of abstraction that lies inherently within the makeup of our reality, and in that regard, the abstract can be indeed literal – where any hope of representation is made literal by the mere act of trying to decipher what we perceive as our reality. Within that quandary - for me - there is an inherent wonder and awe and curiosity about life while considering the physical and psychic conditions at being in any given intersection of time and place, all the while still being privy to the layers of reality that exist beyond us in spacetime. I place myself, and enjoy being, in that four-dimensional station where paths cross.
In that, art can act as the optimistic agnostic in the equation, the anti-totalizing presence that can never be known. My work then seeks to add some function to an exploration of the periphery of relation, to add to an understanding of unknown experience – all the while allowing what exists beyond that boundary the space it needs to continue to be extraordinarily queer. The abstractions lie in a notion of how random and seemingly meaningless elements can combine to make up my work and make up my personal history – essentially making up a life; how the random and seemingly meaningless data flitting about in the universe makes up “us.” Science tells us that according to probability, “we” should not exist. Yet here we are, that small percentile that just happens to “be.” Because in some ways, just being is the abstraction and we’re left to make sense of what information we have to go off of.