Artist Statement

 

I am a multidisciplinary artist whose practice involves uncovering physical objects from the strata of human activity and re-contextualizing them. Part child and part archaeologist I am drawn to both to the prima materia of ossified and earthy materials as well as colorful and glittering objects and am constantly on the quest for unearthing new materials. Once brought to the surface the object then needs to be put into the context of a larger narrative. Through a process that I call signal jamming the commonly accepted meaning of the object is ultimately subverted.

The starting point of the physical object is important because it is something everyone can agree on. We can look at it, touch it, rub or hit each other with it. Its reality is unmistakable. But once this object is given a name it becomes a symbol and is taken out of the physical world and brought into the world of ideas. As humans we create and use symbols to navigate existence but then collectively get mesmerized by them. My work as an artist is to interrupt the status quo transmission. But rather than replace one form of propaganda with another I am interested in freeing the object and ultimately the participant from the world of competing dogmas. I strive towards this by using a startling juxtaposition in both composition and materials whereby novelty is compelled to emerge out of familiar objects. The artifacts produced do not hide their origin so the trick that is played is upfront, thereby revealing the artifice and ubiquity of the art-making process.  

This realization started with the series of skulls on which I grew crystals. I began by attempting exact clay replicas of animal skulls and realized that the actual skulls were far superior works of art compared to my attempted intervention. The skulls, like massed produced objects in factories, simply cannot be perfected though the crystals bring them into a new dimension. I do not claim the mantle of the all-powerful artist who simply points and art is invoked, but rather that of an archaeologist. Through careful excavation physical objects are collected that help piece together the narrative of a fallen civilization. The artifacts that I uncover place our current obsession with the present into a larger historical context while calling into question our common perceptions about life and death.

-TF 2016