The materials I choose are carefully picked from the waste stream.
I see the trash I build with as precious “gifts from the street”, (to quote Robert Rauschenberg.)
These single use items, that to me, are so provocative in color and form and content, are products of our culture’s most creative brilliance in engineering, advertising, manufacturing and global transport. They are also expressions of our culture’s worst traits like wasteful disregard for the health of our environment, deception and greed. I want to leave room for all of this information in my sculptures. I am somewhere in this soup of humanity.
My mother was a potter, and I grew up surrounded by ceramic vessels. I see the vessel as a metaphor for the self. The vessel holds its secret contents, and shows to the world its exterior. My sculptures all involve containers in some way, whether they are made from cardboard boxes, or empty milk jugs or tide bottles, and all have interior and exterior surfaces to be explored.
I have been working with the ever-increasing ‘waste stream’ since before the term existed, creating sculptures from trash, intent on recycling materials, while discovering that I was recycling myself again and again in the process.
I was initially attracted to the post consumer cardboard boxes and plastic containers, as materials that would allow me to build directly and quickly, without fear of ruining or wasting materials, but my process quickly became much more than that. Working in refuse from the street, one is tied in personally to what is happening in the collective. My connection to the world around me has deepened through this work as I ponder societal notions of value and beauty, ugliness and waste. I surround myself in a garden of trash-objects of everyday living made better and worse by technology. I acknowledge and confront the chaos and attempt to order it.
I have a fascination with empty containers.
I have always regarded the empty container, the vessel, as a metaphor for the individual, and as something with the ability to hold. It is a feminine energy I can connect to. Using empty containers I span themes from figurative sculpture and portraiture, to abstract works. And all of it speaks to one degree or another of our suffering environment, and socioeconomic disparity, and also to the increased speed of change around us. While my work embraces overwhelm, I hope it also expresses child like wonder about being alive in our technological age.
I find it comforting to know that while we are destroying our beautiful biosphere, our presence here on earth is such a small blip in time in geologic terms. Mother earth will recover with new life forms yet to be imagined. The notion of recycling translated into geologic and astronomical time is the theme of my most recent work. Learning about the implications of plastic waste in our environment has given me a hunger for more scientific information on climate change, which is resulting in my deepening interest in geology and astronomy, which in turn is deepening my sense of awe for our ever changing universe, in its constant processes of recycling.
My work has become my spiritual practice of transformation through art.