On occasion of Russian/Spanish Cultural Exchange 2012
Making art and making a family merged in my work a long time ago when I realized that neither would thrive if both did not thrive. The making of art and the making of a family are different only insofar as the making of art intentionally inscribes and describes a space of meaning and communication in order to produce an artistic experience or visual trace of its happening. By handling domestic activities and responsibilities with an artistic intentionality they are enriched and transformed. The boundaries between what is everydayness and what is art are permanently blurred in a process that allows life to yield to what experiences it will offer, and, at the same time, allows art-making to work its vitality into our lives. Total Environment shows an artist’s 17 years of work transforming and being transformed by family culture.
I have elaborated our cultural compulsion to memory-keep in my exploration of the family album. I have coaxed my “album” of banal family snapshots along a path not unlike that of runaway selection, gradually turning it into a creature of extraordinary proportions and unusual morphology. Working on the album has allowed me to examine and theorize the unwieldy power of the photographic image and its complex relationship to just about everything. There is, for me, no standard approach to a snapshot; sometimes a snapshot is especially suggestive to me and I am interested in discovering why, sometimes I am exploring a particular theme, like time, and one snapshot will declare itself to me, sometimes a project has coalesced around a group of snapshots. Sometimes I will hunt for the right snapshot with my camera, or simply idle with my camera in hand, waiting for the photographic act itself to create or reveal relationships. Drawing out a photograph’s materiality and hybrid potential, I exploit its unlimited possibilities (so far, I have been unable to locate any limits), as it spills over into drawing, sculpture and video. I have also, over the last years, begun to work with other materials like clay, bread and household paint/enamel, approaching them as photographs, thinking of them in terms of imprint, instantaneity, and reproduction.
Total Environment traces a meandering path through my work since 1997. I have gathered close to fifty works and allowed them to gravitate into groups that draw out certain forms and themes that reappear in my work, mutating over time. Most of the pieces are hung one meter from the floor, the height of my navel. The rest of the pieces are hung relative to this horizontal line. Much of my work is portraiture. Perhaps this is because working on others is a devotional act, a way to communicate with other through art. Working on others has naturally led to working with others, and my children are now participating more actively as in performers in my work, insinuating their own view of themselves and of me into my view of them, leading to a different form of visual dialogue in the work. The performance D/innertime (2012) was the first time all three of my children performed together, and we have recreated it for this exhibition.