The Ephemera of Observation (06.2016; updated 01.2017)Keywords: Observation, Self-reflexivity, Boundaries, Existential, Encounter, Pragmatism
I see myself as a visual artist and I am interested in observing this. This statement describes my observations.
As a person that creates 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 an artist (me) and material investigations of the phenomena of self-reflexivity – the observation that as an individual I am constantly encountering and reacting to myself in the world as I change and grow. This can only happen indirectly… 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!
It then follows: 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 the search for self-reflexivity. Not only are ideas 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.
In true postmodern form, maybe I’ll refer to this way of making as a kind of “post-observational art”… or maybe “abstract post-obervationalism” fits better (yes, I like that!).
Most often I seek to define experiences of the boundaries that I encounter in these creative processes. 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 artistic exploration, allowing me to create and experience relationships between my self as well as the Other.
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 explored in my work.
So a long story short, my practice is just that- the creative practice of observing and enacting ‘my’; it 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 my self – as an artist, as person, as a small man, as a partner, as a father, as a human. It must remain in progress… somewhat elusive.. layered… and open to transformation.