• “Self Imposed Surface Tension”
  • “Self Imposed Surface Tension”
  • “Self Imposed Surface Tension”

“Self Imposed Surface Tension”

  • Added 05/19/2010
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My growth as an artist and educator, marked with significant physical challenges, have formed my understanding that possibility and creation are independent from any specific material, method or machine. After extensive study and experience as a painter, I suffered a fall that left me with two broken arms locked in place for 10 months. Without the use of my arms, I had to find a way to continue creating art. Born out of this corporal restraint was an awakening of possibility. By not being physically able to function as a painter, I looked outside my experience to find new methods of expression. My challenge was transformation, reinvention, even mutation, anything but suffering the admittance of limitation. Soon photography met painting, drawing met sculpture, and the potential of exponential growth had revealed itself. The scope of my work and my understanding of material plurality and manipulation began to flower. Through adversity, I was able to expand my understandi
ng of the possible, which has been essential in my teaching as well as my professional practice.

Exposing heat sensitive photographic paper to mediated light and various heated tools created the body of work represented in this portfolio, titled “Training for Zero Gravity.” The exposure time can extend from one hour to multiple days. During the exposure process I am able to manipulate and direct the composition through burning, agitation, cutting, excessive friction, and neglect. With the direct application of fire, brightly colored lines raise off the surface like CMYK scars representing a physical history of adversity and endurance. Spatial relations between figure and ground or concrete and ephemeral information are established with the inclusion of pattern and forms that suggest an optically simultaneous experience of macro and micro. Ultimately the paper transmogrifies from a medium ready to depict reality and objectivity to a surface that presents a visual history of energy, imagination, and experimentation. The finished work appears as a brightly colored,
disorderly celebration of the trauma that the media has endured.

My art work functions in an obscure space between painting and photography, making a formal identification of its media challenging. Each finished piece is singular in its physical form but suggestive of the multiple through its material presence. I use nostalgic images from my past, found in family photo albums or commercially printed pop-culture residue, as an agreed point of departure for my audience and myself. Common themes of child as hero, body dimorphic disorder, material impermanence, and psychological transcendence are present in all forms of my work. My studio functions as a laboratory where material is the variable, method is the catalyst and I am the constant.

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