General Artist Statement
I am interested in the systems people create in order to organize what they perceive in the world around them. These systems can be based in science, religion, psychology or philosophy. No matter how intellectual a system or idea may appear, I believe it is always filtered through our physical senses. For this reason I use imagery of the body to depict “moments of contact” between the self and the other.
In each work the fragmentation of the moments of contact lends ambiguity to both the pictorial space and to the boundary between the people portrayed. Time is expressed as non-linear. Empty space and geometric elements are juxtaposed with organic imagery as a means to balance perspectives of reason and of the senses. Typically, the work appears to be a unit that references objectivity and systemization via mathematical or scientific observation. When viewing the work at close range the system collapses, engaging the viewer intimately and personally. Due to the physical constraints of our being we are unable to interact with the work from both perspectives in the same time and space. My work makes this condition apparent, echoing our inherent struggle to simultaneously understand relationships from both the subjective and objective, the ordered and the chaotic.
E, watercolor paint on cut paper, 8 inch diameter each ©2016
E, (“Euler's number"), is a mathematical constant found in nature that measures a precise and recurring rate of growth and decay. The paper used in the series, E, is cut with a laser machine, transforming each piece of paper into an object that is literally made out of the number sequence E - 2.71828…(etc..). Before cutting each work I created imagery of contact between people with watercolor paint. The number sequence expresses an analysis of growth and decay through scientific method and observation while the paintings express perceptions of growth and decay through physical sensation.
By using two strongly contrasting techniques, (hand and machine made), the physical work echoes the conceptual idea of combining sensory/emotive understanding with rational logic. These two ways of perceiving the world are considered opposites in our culture, but in reality cannot be divorced from each other. The final art pieces are objective and intuitive, mechanical and intimate. The viewer can choose to focus on the "rationality" in the numbers, or the "sensuality" in the bodies, or both. Whichever perspective is chosen, each remains equally significant within the physical object.
Pi π, pencil and text drawings of every creation story I can find, 3 inch individual discs ©2014
Most people know Pi simply as the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter. Beyond this one definition Pi has been considered remarkable for numerous reasons; one being its copious appearance in mathematical equations used to explain the mechanics of the universe. It is also an irrational number, by definition - indefinable. A finite end is wholly unobtainable due to the lack of pattern within its' sequence. Yet this enigmatic number is necessary to complete various calculations that make factual, rational sense of our world. Different cultures have linked the indefinable qualities of Pi and its' ubiquity in nature to the ineffable qualities prescribed to God or a creator.
I created the wall installation Pi as a response to the questions embodied in the phenomena of the number as well as their connection to our struggle to understand creation. The installation consists of 134 drawings on individual discs arranged in the numerical sequence of Pi, 3.1415... Each disc has an image of hands touching drawn on top of a grid of dots and a typed creation story. The explanations of how and why we were created are religious, mythical, or scientific. There are 134 individual works because that is the number of creation stories I found in my research. The grid of dots denotes mathematical and natural order. The hands symbolize a moment of contact when the story was told or passed down to another. They also signify our interpretation of the stories through our physical senses. The interwoven imagery of dots, text and figures unites the three different approaches, - scientific analysis, cultural tradition and somatic intuition - people use to make sense of our existence. As a whole, the piece represents our human desire to understand our origin and our ultimate inability to do so due to the ineffable nature of reality.
Phi φ, 100 - 4" diameter etched mirrors ©2013
Phi, also known as the Golden Ratio or The Divine Proportion, is a mathematical constant embedded in a variety of natural structures found in the world. The petals of a rose are one example of a plant that grows to this precise “golden” ratio (1/1.618…). While each petal looks entirely unique the spacing of its growth pattern is always the mathematical ratio of Phi. Fractals are another example in which Phi is the ratio of division within each segment. In the growth patterns of both petals and fractals, if the ratio is slightly below Phi the pattern will not meet its potential for growth. If the ratio is larger than Phi there will be overgrowth and the pattern or leaves will die out. In this case Phi is considered a divine proportion because it lends itself to the greatest potential for growth and development.
Phi reveals a quality in nature where something organic can appear virtually lawless yet contain a rigid mathematical order under the surface. Reflecting on the complexities and curiosities found within this phenomenon, I created a wall installation of 100 identical mirrors arranged in the numerical sequence of Phi. The repetition and succession of the mirrors indicates rigid and predictable mathematical order. The drawing of people interacting signifies chance and casualness within relationships. While the mirrors are fabricated to be completely uniform, they are nevertheless equally unique in that they reflect the environment specific to their placement on the wall. No mirror can occupy the same exact space in the same exact time, making it impossible for any mirror to ever be precisely identical to another. This dichotomy of sameness and difference echoes questions rooted within the phenomena of Phi.
Alternates, watercolor on cut paper, Poetry by Alyse Knorr, 16" diameter ©2016
Reading Alyse Knorr's poetry is a unique experience in which her words are so physical that I feel them resonate within my body. The series Alternates, named after Knorr's chapbook, consists of watercolor paintings cut and transformed into objects literally made out of her words. The images are my vision of her narrator clinging on to another with an overwhelming desire to resist change.
More statements coming soon...