This installation employs the metal mesh of used air filters. The work incorporates the brash palette used to designate various workplace hazards as a metaphor for the need to remain conscious of environmental issues, especially in a political landscape that diminishes their importance.
Safety Yellow joins together thousands of plastic widgets salvaged from the oil & gas industry during its recent downturn. In this configuration, components that would have protected submerged cable in active, straight lines warp and fold back on each other resembling vines returned to a wild, unrestrained state. Alternately the piece references a giant, unruly ouroboros, an ancient symbol of wholeness and constant regeneration. In essence, it substitutes the intention to remove energy from the earth with an act of energy creation—the creative process.
This series renders the discards of American manufacturing into decorative objects. The decline of this sector, the financial crisis, as well as safety and environmental regulations in the contemporary, international labor market are among the many inspirations for this body of work. Thousands of scrap triangles were sourced from a laser cutting company producing build-your-own rocket kits for children.
This work was created and installed on the property of Taliesin West, while a visiting artist at the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture. Students here have the opportunity to design and build desert shelters as part of their education, which in part inspired the piece.
An album of snapshots from the residency is online here.
2012 installation at Taliesin West
pool wall foam, monofilament 48 x 12 x 12 x inches
This piece is a personal water storage unit, woven from discs cut out of the polyethylene foam used to line swimming pools. It suggests a time when specialized materials and accessories are employed for common daily use.
I made Water Tower while doing an artist residency in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, a dusty spa town on the Rio Grande in the southern part of the state. The high mineral content in the water there makes it perfect for soaking, though not a tasty drink, so every day I'd visit the reverse osmosis station in the shopping center up the street and haul back a couple of gallons. I conceived of this piece during one of those walks. Pictures of town and a few southwestern roadtrips are here.
Water Tower, 2012
This and each of the following pieces responds to beliefs that a cataclysmic event was to occur in December 2012.
Decorative Black Cloud, 2012
neoprene foam, wire / dimensions variable
Fur Fixture, 2012
rabbit fur, copper pipe 76 x 3 x 3 inches
This piece presupposes an era in which common synthetics have become scarce and primitive materials serve as substitutes in a variety of applications.
It also parodies a luxury market in which high-end versions of the most basic tools and accessories are retailed to the aspiring or super rich.
Alternate Units, 2011
rabbit fur, polyfill
The global economic crisis and renewed interest in trading for goods and services provides a backdrop to these four sculptures. Made of fur, they evoke a period in North American history when pelts were used in barter. Each element decreases by one half in material in size, establishing a proxy unit of measure.
Alternate Units - 1
Alternate Units - 1/2
Alternate Units - 1/4
Alternate Units - 1/8
Sectional Rug, 2012
baltic birch plywood 88 x 36 x 2 inches
Made from individually cut 1/8-inch thick plywood triangles, the modular, interlocking construction ensures that in the case of an emergency, all or part of the floor covering can be burned for fuel.
It also refers to Jasper Morrison’s 1989 exhibition, Some New Items for the Home, Part II, a show that revitalized the use of plywood in industrial design. In it, everything except the rugs were made of plywood.
piano hammers, wire 8 x 4 inches
Once the hallmark of a middle class home, today the majority of unwanted pianos end up in landfills. The city of Fort Collins, Colorado uses donated instruments in its ‘Pianos About Town’ public art program, which places them outdoors for the public to play. Periodically, the instruments are swapped out, which supplied me with a set of deaccessioned parts.
Sorting through a pile of pieces reminded me of an incident from my youth, when I was resistantly learning how to play. Increasingly frustrated, during one practice I remember leaning forward and biting the soft wood of the fallboard.
My design is based on necklaces made of animal teeth, used in different cultures for adornment, barter, and as status symbols. On a personal level, the work represents an overdue and unexpected mastery of the instrument.
Choker [Piano Practice], 2012
Deep Folds, 2011
cork and rubber gasket centers 60 x 30 x 8 inches
cork and rubber gasket centers 15 x 15 x 40 inches each
The thin slices of machined material in this work resembles the strips that are removed from cork trees during the harvesting process. In addition, the circular forms evoke the rings used to count a tree’s age. Each small stack contains seven gasket centers pointing to the days in a week, while together the coils employ twelve columns, referencing months in a year.
Not only does cork take about a decade to regenerate, but as a culture we require increasingly more time to piece together solutions to pressing environmental and economic issues.
Full Twist, 2011
rubber gasket centers, vinyl lacing, aspen trunk 48 x 8 x 8 inches
The process of rubber extraction offers background to this piece.
By applying a labor-intensive weaving process to these scrap gaskets and attaching them to an available tree trunk, the work highlights that despite efforts to recycle and repurpose, these materials cannot be put back.
Width of a Circle
This work utilizes the discarded foam centers of industrial gaskets. Through repeated connective processes, these seemingly insignificant items form expressive accumulations, resembling patterns and shapes found in the natural world.
The pieces shown here were made under the auspices of Blue Sky Project, a summer residency program in Dayton, Ohio that partnered professional artists with teenagers in order to create collaborative works of art. Our group labored with materials to create new forms from the city’s industrial sidestream. The project would not have been possible without their heroic patience, trust, and ability to turn anything into a fabulous game.
Ripple Effect, 2011
foam gasket centers/ 10 x 10 feet
Double Dip, 2011
foam gasket centers / 3 x 10 feet each
michrofiche film, LED lights 84 x 12 x 12 inches each
These sculptures were created from individual, 4×6 inch sheets of microfiche film, belonging to a collection of House and Senate documents and reports known as the U.S. Congressional Serial Set. They were de-accessioned from a library collection during migration to digital access.
Serial Set, 2011
Great Divide, 2010
cotton, wire / 13 x 3 x 3 feet
This work utilizes 100 pounds of raw cotton — grown, sourced, and discarded close to my former studio near the U.S.-Mexico border. Since the passage of NAFTA more than a million Mexican farmers have lost their land due to the market saturation of U.S. cotton and other crops, driving prices for these goods below the cost of production. In addition, cotton uses an enormous amount of pesticides in the production process, with by-products entering the human food supply through use in cattle feed and as a filler in processed foods.
Return to Scale
Paper Trail, 2010
paper hangtags, steel / 6 x 12 feet
This work is one of a series of pieces made from a vast inventory of unused commercial materials, salvaged from a single textile industry storeroom in downtown El Paso, Texas. Held in place only by the tension of the steel supports, the layers shifted dramatically over the installation period, an additional tectonic reference.
2012 installation / Fort Collins, CO leather garment labels, vinyl lacing
Lacing thousands of small, leather labels into lines evokes the mountainous West Texas landscape, migratory patterns, and the tumultuous earnings and losses of global industry.
leather garment labels, vinyl lacing / as installed - 11 x 65 feet
boxed garment labels / 14 x 14 feet
Fringe Benefit, 2010
nitrile gloves, polyfill, burlap, steel / 6 x 18 feet
This work comments on the unsung presence of the human hand in commercial labor and manufacturing processes.
industrial rolls of fusible interfacing / 24 x 1-foot units spanning 36 feet
Pyramid Scheme, 2010
remnant garment labels / 8 x 12 feet
How to Grow Fresh Air, 2009
as installed at the Luleå Art Biennial – Luleå, Sweden PVC pipe, copolymer fabric, air-purifying plants 12 x 12 x 11 feet
This piece responds to the issue of environmental risk, particularly disaster preparedness.
The dome is an innately sturdy structure, able to withstand natural stresses of many kinds. It also refers to the work of architect Buckminster Fuller, who saw it as a key to rethinking housing and a restructured way of life. In addition, the promise of a contained habitat draws from the work of Biosphere 2, the sealed capsule environment in the Arizona desert where biological life support experiments were staged in the early 1990s.
The plants housed within the dome allude to the idea that the natural world provides keys to many modern dilemmas and likewise, each specimen is good at removing a particular chemical from the air. Examples include benzene and formaldehyde. The latter made news as the toxin found in the trailers provided to victims of Hurricane Katrina.
leaf mulch, nylons 5 x 15 x 4 feet
A cocoon-like dwelling made of fallen autumn leaves in the home of Arbor Day – Nebraska City, Nebraska.
One in a series of experiments using yard waste and sandwich baggies to replicate traditional American quilt block patterns.
Finger Hut, 2008
Latex and neoprene housecleaning gloves 3 x 10 x 6 feet
Constructed out of synthetic materials known for their use in industrial and so-called lifestyle accessories, this structure serves as an alternative shelter in the Colorado mountains, known as a hub of adventure tourism and vacation cabins.
Colorado Art Ranch was the now discontinued residency program this work emerged from. Images of a few highway mountain views are here.
elastic bandages, straw dimensions variable
This piece is an adaptable, personal shelter, made from stuffed bandage tubes. An interest in invented textiles (the original all cotton elastic bandage was introduced commercially in 1913), hand built shelter, and the housing bubble all spurred the work.
This work developed in response to a unique residency program in which artists are invited to redistribute resources of an eclectic collection of a former thrift and surplus store. Working within a closed system—nothing leaves the collection and nothing is added—this structure offers a clearing in a densely arranged spatial environment. In addition, it doubles as a waste containment initiative, as each log is stuffed with otherwise unusable scrap fabric. Denim as a symbol of innovation and reinvention as well as the significance of that industry locally in Greensboro were among the many inspirations for the piece.
Structures were on my mind as I walked around town, as evidenced by my photo journal here.