My sculptural installations create metaphors, and layered enigmatic meanings focus on the dynamic between experience and emotional processing in a range of degrees and stages.
The technical processes of Fibers are a metaphor for the emotional processing that occurs within us. Both are predetermined and systematic, but unique through our individuality. The social meaning behind cloth is covering and protection; furthermore, the cultural connotations, specifically of crochet and knit, are warmth and comfort. These ideas are linked to our psychological wellbeing, and the cloth in each piece represents healing.
The forms begin as a potentially penetrating threat to the viewer, forcing the viewer to be aware of what is happening and how they are feeling. Then, as the healing process begins, the forms turn in on themselves, interacting as would your memories and psyche as the mind forces reconciliation. The forms represent experience or trauma. The drama between the cloth and forms that occurs is not a direct parallel of psychological events. Rather, like the unconscious mind, some elements are ambiguous and overlapping. Some forms are wrapped, a provisional layer inherent to the form as a skin; a division between the occurrence and the rest of reality, but not as developed as the cloth. Weaving is a process but is part of the forms, which represent experience. Other forms have the thread woven in as an integrated element signifying the connection between all experiences, traumatic and curative. The final space created using crocheted lace is intended to create the experience of peace, comfort and nostalgia.
I create the conical forms using two different methods. In one method, I cut a triangle pattern out of quarter-inch wire mesh and sew it into a cone form. I then wrap the form with thread, similar to the basketry technique of coiling. The thread used is different neutral tones of raw silk, cotton and wool. In the second method, I treat copper wire with liver of sulpher and wax. This creates a dark brown to black patina on the metal. I then weave the wire on a loom in a manner identical with cloth, using a twill weave structure. Tapestry techniques are used to create the specific triangle shape required to create the conical forms. In this method the thread is woven into weft when the wire is on the loom. The thread used is half-bleached white linen. The way the thread is alternated with the wire within the twill structure creates different patterns on the surface.
There are also two primary ways in which I work with the crochet elements. In the first method, the crochet is a single or double crochet stitch, monotonously repeated more as evidence of a building process than any decorative or functional element. In the second method the crochet follows patterns of doilies, and expands outward as netting consisting of chain stitches and picots. In each piece whichever thread is used in the cone the same thread is used for the crocheted cloth.
The cones and crochet are installed either on the wall of the space, which is painted a specific color, or on sheets of drywall. On the latter the drywall is torn and marked into by various implements including but not limited to hammers, box cutters, pliers, scissors, and the metal forms.
Value and directional movement are the most dominant formal elements within each installation. Color is only present in the subtle undertones of neutrals. I use value to support the meaning of each piece and create a logical visual understanding for the viewer. In Four on One, the focal point is the white form and as the arrangement expands out they become darker in value, showing is impending danger. In Modus Vivendi, the high contrast of black and white emphasizes the duality within the piece. The low contrast between the crochet lace and the eggshell painted wall creates ambiguity between the object and ground.
The compositional arrangement of the forms on the wall is determined by the concept within each piece. The pointed quality of the conical forms creates directional movement, leading the viewer to the focal point. In Intrusion that focal point is the viewer themselves and their proximity to the forms. In Diffusion the focal point is the form turned in on itself and in Modus Vivendi the forms lead the viewer through the journey to the final space.
I am influenced by how the forms of Magdalena Abakanowicz and Jane Sauer reference interactions, psychological and physical relationships and experiences. Abakanowicz’s forms fill the space either through multiples, referencing the anonymity of crowds, or through size. Her “Abakons” are so immense and intensely textured they transform the space they inhabit into environments. Jane Sauer illustrates intimate personal relationships through the physical interactions of her forms. Though they are organic forms that twist around each other in space in a variety of ways, they relate to an intuitive understanding of how body language communicates emotions.
In the work of Elana Herzog, she creates lace-like structures by stapling domestic relics into the walls of the space, then removing threads and chunks of the original cloth, much as time would disintegrate it eventually. I am influenced by the inherent meaning in her materials and process including memory, death, decay, and nostalgia. I am also very interested in how her work is embedded into its environment, changing the space and becoming part of the architecture.
Joan Livingstone explores the landscape of the body and its functions, using strong materiality to not only confront our aversions surrounding them, but also conventions in the art world. I am influenced by how her work creates an understanding beyond the conceptual, based upon the physical response of the viewer. She examines the relationship between solids and liquids and how the same laws present in our bodies affect them: gravity, flow and absorption. Our bodies respond outside of our rational control, like fainting at the sight of blood.
I am also influenced by my personal experiences with remodeling interiors, my childhood with a mother in recovery, and the study of Hindu philosophy. Through my experiences remodeling my parents’ house I became aware of the materials that construct our everyday environments, and how the materials and these spaces begin to hold the imprint of our experiences there. As a child I grew up with my mother in recovery from depression as well as severe health issues. From the age of 10 on, my worldly understanding was shaped by psychological rhetoric of how to deal with your emotions, as well as my mother’s search for alternative methods concerning healing your body through your spirit. In Hindu philosophy, specifically Yoga, there is the ultimate goal of denying the senses of the body and retreating into the stillness of your internal awareness. Personally, I have struggled with the either/or scenario, and therefore how to balance my external world with my internal peace. For me, there is a strong parallel between searching for that internal place of stillness, and finding healing and resolution after a traumatic experience.