Each Has His or Her Place in the Procession
California Institute of Integral Studies
Desai Matta Gallery
San Francisco USA
April 15 – August 5, 2022
Since 2000, I have cultivated a hybrid photographic-painting-sculpture practice through which I explore human physicality. Drawn from Walt Whitman’s 1855 poem I Sing the Body Electric, the title Each has his or her place in the procession encapsulates my interest in pervasive media, muted individuality, and inexorable human flow.
Procession is a photographic body of work of the figure-models or maquettes I carve from Styrofoam for an ongoing series of sculptural paintings titled Stasis. By breathing another life into them as printed images, this process is not unlike the constant recycling of news-streams from which they are drawn.
As figure-objects they become iconical in their ability to symbolize ideas larger than the individuals represented. These days we may think of an icon in relation to technology and all that implies in terms of speed and simplified emotional reference, but as a symbol of spiritual transcendence an icon has the power to stop us with its incredible stillness. It becomes a doorway onto larger ideas through the individuals represented.
A figure could be a politician, a celebrity, a criminal, or an otherwise anonymous individual whose image now resides in the vast internet archive. A figure could also represent wider concepts – personal or political conflict, economic or social station, gender, or sexual identity. Identity specificity falls away, replaced by a burgeoning anonymous figural taxonomy. I mold these figures in a daily carving practice, reconstructing the flat images I source as three-dimensional forms that, when photographed, interrupt our perception of scale and material. Do the intimate sculptures sparkle like snow, or is the pock-marked surface more like bone? The material quality of each figure inevitably changes as they are handled in the studio, yellowing over time, forming yet another taxonomy that may be overlaid on the work.
Ultimately my intent is to impose a stillness and quiet over the chaos of the world in repurposing the parts of my practice concerned with an impulse to archive along with the monastic practice of daily carving all the while slipping visually between photography and sculpture.