In the last few years I have presented performances, audio work on CD and in situ, radio broadcasts, books, site specific installations, texts, lectures, drawings on walls and framed in exhibitions. While the work varies in texture and specific content, my concerns have remained consistent. I am interested in the Human interchange filtered through history and culture and the intersection and interference of language and the emotions.
In the early 1960’s Dr. Martin Luther King gave his support of striking laborers stating simply: “All work has dignity.” This may seem to be a strange place in which to begin a statement of artistic purpose, but it is between these two poles, work and dignity that I attempt to place my current artistic activity. There are a number of reasons why this simple, elegant statement by the late civil rights leader is so crucial to my thinking at present. I have always seen my activities as an artist as just thatwork. And it is a place where I find myself balancing closely more and more as I try to challenge notions of craft, form, process and objecthood. Through investigation of issues of permanence and change in site specific installations, I hope to bring up notions of finish and break down the barriers between where the work of art ends and everyday life begins. My installations employ sound, video, texts, photographs, found objects, drawing in temporary settings to address my concerns with historical reference and cultural memory.
The resulting installations are casual, open and oblique yet precisely tuned and focused. My work brings together strands from often conflicting or ill-fitting disciplines in order to reveal underlying connections and hidden structures. Each piece functions both as creation and critical actboth starting from texts and functioning as text.
Lately, I have also broadened the function of language to call attention to issues of disability and access. As a vision impaired artist I have attempted to examine the meaning of words such as blindness, disability and understanding to find out how works of art can function to bring us closer together as well as make connection difficult. I hope to show the commonality in the pursuit of artistic pleasures and provide many layers of meaning for viewers who encounter my work. My goal is to allow the work and its meaning to unfold slowly in that uneasy relationship between knowledge, understanding and delight.
My work relies on quotation and allusion. I use literary references as well as philosophical texts to compound the meaning of these installations. The use of quotation is intended to draw attention to acts, events and figures from the past and record our distance from the quoted event. This critical act is intended to recontextualize and redirect attention away from our moment. At present we are in an era that attempts to disavow history and its force. I hope to shift that drive and halt the rush to an uncertain past by making work that involve a slow, careful reading and the modest materials.
I lost my vision in 1994 due to an optic nerve disorder. After intense medical treatment and care, I returned to art making with renewed energy and commitment. Rather than discouraging my activities my disability has served to liberate me to open my practice to address a wide variety of issues and subjects. Most of my work takes the form of site specific installations involving objects, drawing, sound text, light and language in video projection. Although varied in form, my work is linked by an interest in the social dimension of daily life and its relation to cultural production and history. My disability is reflected in these methods as I comment on issues of access and ways that bodies encounter works of art. I use my own blindness as a figure for the ways we interpret the world through our own specific framing mechanisms. I have also been more and more drawn to create pieces involving a commentary on the sensory world as understood through food, cuisine, cooking and interaction through food and the art audience. My recent cooking projects have allowed me to speak to all the senses and examine the interaction of our sensory processes.
Although much of my work relies on reference to popular culture and commercial entertainment, the purpose of these references is to draw attention to the place of time and language in our public exchanges. Cultural discourse at present emphasizes the slick surfaces of market appeal and technological speed. Rather than producing products for this market, I present temporary situationsephemeral experiences that dwell in the past and its ghosts, filled with the dignity of the past and the process of that retrieval. The work of rescue.