Body of Work / Work of Body
Porcelain as a medium and metaphor continues to fascinate me. I see humanity in the material's extreme fragility and resilient strength. I am interested in its ubiquity throughout the history of objects, both precious and utilitarian. It can visually evoke skin or bone, and hold the memory of human touch. My practice involves pushing the limits of this material physically while mining its symbolic potential.
I pull inspiration from man-made containers of the human presence - from religious relics to computer screens. Shapes from nature, especially those made by the passage of time, inform my visual language. Art historical inspirations include the anatomical fascination of the Renaissance, the temporal fragmentation of the futurists, the politics of body art.
With titles, I am able to use language as another tool to shape my work. I find interest in the words we use to describe objects and people, intermixing and confusing the animate and inanimate qualities. I think about how words and labels affect our perception and even emotions towards an object, place or fellow human. My titles are integral to the read of each work or series, often having double or symbolic meaning.
Coming from a feminist/humanist perpective - the unanswerable question of value often surfaces as I work. What is the value of a life, a person, an object - why, and by whose authority? What is sacred, what is precious, what is protected? These questions stay with me, as I investigate themes of alienation, corruption, disintegration, preservation, beauty and abjection.
Each body of work is a separate investigation- its pieces relating to each other thematically. Below are statements for each body of work listed.
"Immaculate, Intact, Natural, Snowy, Spotless, Sterile, Untouched, Earliest, Early, First, Original, Primal, Purified, Refined, Sanitary, Stainless, Sterilized, Taintless, Unadulterated, Uncorrupted, Undebased, Unpolluted, Unsoiled, Unspotted, Unstained, Unsullied, Untainted, Untarnished, Virginal, Wholesome"
These works came from the idea of corporeal corruptibility. How a body, a land, a person - can be considered spoiled, ruined, defiled or, alternately, preserved, kept whole, kept clean. Ideas of decay, dissolution, penetration, as well as display, preservation and perfection are investigated in tiny, shrine-like objects. Each work is very small and fragile, yet removed and untouchable on its little pedestal.
There is a ritual to viewing a delicate object. Scale and the separation of pedestals create an invisible perimeter within which we are extra aware of our mass and movements. The mirrors expose them on all sides, they are on display for us. As objects, they cannot act, they can only be acted upon.
i , 2012-16
This body of work explores the relationships and parallels between human and electronic bodies - in shape, purpose, and in the language we use to describe them.
This piece was built partially from new units and partially a re-working of an earlier work, iv, and installed at ArtComplex in a former dentist office. In both works, the porcelain units are all in in iPad/tablet and iphone/smartphone shapes, illuminated from behind with micro-controlled LEDs. Each unit was hand built using a symbolic process: starting as a thin slab which was laid out and then manipulated and "pushed" as one would push "buttons" on a screen until the material began to warp and fall apart. The units are interconnected in organic clusters and synaptic formations with visceral wires. The LEDs randomly go through subtle color shifts so that the units seem to be engaged in some sort of quiet, dysfunctional or failing communication.
The paper-thin porcelain is illuminated by the LEDS, which are imbedded into the material, making it its own circuit board. The title is a tech term meaning "blue screen of death." The blue screen is an electronic limbo; not dead or alive.
This installation of over 500 individual hand-made leaf shapes, each with the imprint of a human hand.
Spotlights illuminating the porcelain from above and behind allow the leaves to glow and the skin-print is visible. The hands all reach upward in a silent chorus, reaching toward the light. Some leaves will be piled on the ground, light bouncing off them instead of through them, so they seem solid and lifeless.
The piece is entitled Left, the past tense of leave. It can also mean a left hand - the careful viewer will notice the absence thereof (They are all right hand prints). This work addresses ideas of ascension, not necessarily in the religious sense, but in the sense of some rising and some being left behind. The process of making the leaves is laborious, each one being carefully crafted, pressing my own body into the clay. This returns the human element to the mass-produced object. The suspended leaves hang in the formation of an arch, which can also be seen as a bell-curve and the crest of a sine wave. The piece creates a contemplative space, displaying a dynamic between the different leaves, as individuals and as a group. The viewer can to walk through the hanging leaves, and as they are at various heights, be able to go under the arch in the middle and see them from below, creating an immersive environment. The piece can also be viewed more passively from a distance- offering the essential choice of whether or not to engage the individual, or just see a population.
Porcelain Project, 2009
digital photography with porcelain object
Geary Blvd, 2009 & Battery Chamberlain, 2009
Fleeting impressions of the people who have been before us continually surface and disappear in the mind as we experience visual clues in our daily trajectory. We share the same space, and we leave behind bits of ourselves, and in this way, we transform, travel and sometimes even bond with other humans. In this piece porcelain forms act as stand-ins for the mental impression of the person who has left behind various traces.
Terra Firma, 2008- 2011
These works represent the mutual erosion of the human body by nature, and the landscape by human beings.
These works explore the paradox of the human obsession with improvement, modification and perfection – and the ultimate self-destruction it causes. The title is derived from the alternate title of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, "The Modern Prometheus."
The plastic bags, while being evocative skin also evoke associations with containment, preservation, and waste. It is a material that we at first saw as the height of modern convenience, and now is demonized as destructive to our environment. In addition to the plastic are porcelain, clay slurry, paint, garbage, and discarded organic matter.
Personal Effects, 2011
Personal Effects is a series of small porcelain pieces reflecting on the meaning imposed upon objects we live with and collect, including bits of our own and others' bodies. The porcelain pieces are hybrid-organic/bone forms created at an intimate, “collectable” scale. A home, often a bedroom, accumulates bits and bobs that remind one of some experience or another. We live among these objects and they take on pieces of our identities.
Works on Paper/ Illustrations, ongoing
The works on paper are a visual journal, created without ideas in mind, simply letting my hand flow and the drawings emerge.