An Ontology of my Observation of my _______ (06.2016; updated 01.2017; updated 04.2018)

Keywords: Observation, Self-reflexivity, Praxis, Boundaries, Existential, Encounter

“To have dismantled one’s self in order finally to be alone and meet the true double at the other end of the line. A clandestine passenger on a motionless voyage. To become like everybody else; but this, precisely, is a becoming only for one who knows how to be nobody, to no longer be anybody. To paint oneself gray on gray.” ~ Gilles Deleuze

This statement paints my observations in black and white.

As an individual that creates visual art, I am interested in the possibility of self-discovery and the discovery of spaces that can occur in the process of making. Grounded in existential thought, my practice involves material investigations of the phenomena of self-reflexivity – the observation that as an individual I am constantly encountering and reacting to myself in the reflection of the world as I change and grow.  This happens indirectly and paradoxically, like trying to see your own eyes without reflection or representation. I am fascinated by this motion; it is one that is fleeting like the “Telephone Game” or a drop of freezing rain. Eventually we all encounter our own actions (extensions of our selves) again through others- but as something new and different, transformed. It can happen instantly in a conversation, or can take a lifetime and beyond for an instance of it to render. And sometimes, we encounter ourselves again through someone else…like Kevin Bacon! Here, tautology ensues and this becomes fertile ground for artistically exploring self-identity.

As such, the artworks I produce are the residue of these encounters. As such, they intrinsically form the basis for another behavior, action, extension of my practice; they are more or less aesthetic artifacts of a reflexive praxis. Not only are ideas and actions recycled and recursively explored, but the very material and media that comprise the art object is broken down, mashed-up, and appropriated through subsequent works. Be it a sculptural installation of a subterranean tunnel through the core of the Earth that only I can fit through, or a migratory pirate radio station for two, or a mysterious black box locator device that makes seemingly intuitive conversation,  through my work I create ways to explore (constructing and deconstructing) the boundaries of individuality. I have difficulty containing my work for too long. Each artwork does this, but only temporarily before it must be altered or excavated. Here I find possibilities for strata and layers to develop in the work. Maybe a body of pieces emerges, or maybe fragments are all that’s left.

Most often I seek to define experiences of the boundaries that I encounter in my praxis. These are different types of boundaries or obstacles that define my growth and placing it into perspective; the cultural, societal, and spatial structures that insulate my individuality.  As a result, certain motifs reoccur throughout my work.  In particular, vessels and boxes and containers and fences, tunnels, and sometimes… bridges.  These things as both forms and concepts are instrumental in my exploration, allowing me to create and experience relationships between my self as well as the Other.

Separating my work as an artist and myself as a ‘viewer’ of my practice becomes a focus. (Internal monologue: Too solipsistic? Maybe I’ll refer to this way of making as a kind of “post-observational art”… or maybe “abstract post-obervationalism”  fits better…yeah, that’s something interesting to think about- I might like to write about this later).

Because difference and process are necessary to this exploration, diverging over disciplinary boundaries is necessary as well. I move between media as a means of differentiating my outcomes, in order to better define the process of art-making as paramount. Moreover, this landscape is heavily influenced by virtual and digital forms of media- spaces that are modular and transcodable. Materials such as glass and smoke are attractive for the similar virtual qualities that they espouse when becoming mediums. Within a relational aesthetic, human relationships- social, personal, and cultural are all workable and on occasion explored in my work.

In short, my practice is just that- the creative practice of observing and enacting a sense of ‘my’; a material ontology that functions as a means of self-experimentation, self-communication, and self-identification intrinsic to becoming and/or actualizing my self; continuously in the process of locating and dislocating self – as person, as a small man, as a partner, as a father, as an artist. It must remain in progress… a habitus cloaked by illusio… somewhat elusive… layered… and open…