Artist's Statment

Photography is employed in this project more as a means of bypassing problems inherent in painting and sculpture than as an investigation of photography as a discipline in and of itself. The form of the works might be more accurately described as illustration, and they could conceivably be produced using methods other than photography in the future. Photography also acts as a conductor that equalizes the spectrum of subjects, both preexisting and hand crafted, affording a coherence between them as well as downplaying the manner in which they were made. Consequently, it may be unclear at points whether the artwork at hand is the photograph or the objects depicted within the photograph.

This approach initially arose from an erratic urge to make art that could not be described in terms of its craftsmanship. This premature strategy might have incorporated anything from performances to gag exhibitions, but even these disparate whims all seemed to require some form of photography as a means either of documenting or falsifying their existence. This impulse ultimately resulted in what were essentially photographic skits, several of which combined objects and models with graphic text.

Although these early pieces were still unresolved, they succinctly encapsulated certain philosophical and formal problems within the work. One of the most significant was the problem of using text within the composition of the pictures. After consistently being used for several pieces, the graphic text in the pictures seemed over stylized and sardonic. Furthermore, it seemed that if text really were necessary, it might be channeled back into a piece’s title or more substantial writing instead of an individual composition. The text was ultimately dropped from the compositions, resulting in different objects juxtaposed in a fashion that still implied skits or interactions of some sort. This reinforced the project’s original impetus.

One of the fundamental reasons for abandoning painting had been the time required to execute individual works. Reckoning with the slow pace, stylistic problems and the saturated legacy of painting had begun to eclipse the work’s content. Photography was quicker, and shifted more emphasis to the content of the work, but now the borders dividing preliminary studies and sketches from finished pieces seemed more tenuous. So in the continued approach of stressing the perspective that generated the works as much as the works themselves, contrasting different objects within the same frame for the sake of making a succinct anecdote no longer seemed imperative and was more often replaced by images of single items, or groups of the same item. Instead of literally being in the pictures, the juxtapositions as well as the text were now figuratively between the pictures. It was now clear that the pictures were not only dependent upon the philosophical foundation of the project, but also upon one another.

The work is an ongoing anthropological or philosophical project comprised of cultural observations, although it doubles as a continuous personal document. The problem of empathy, or how we seem to manipulate the sacredness and disposability of living things in different circumstances and incarnations was a blatant theme in the earliest works. It is this tenuous division which led to the habit of focusing so much attention on inanimate objects, mass produced and otherwise, sometimes as if they were living entities themselves. Although this concern is less of a priority than before, traces of it can still be detected in the most current work.

The focus is generally on the residual artifacts of our culture: commonplace objects and products or crafted emblems derived from them. Exaggerating the aforementioned paradox of empathy adds a slapstick element to the work. However, this approach also forms the basis for an inadvertent survey of the synthetic. The images are to form collectively an aggregate overview of contemporary civilization refracted in terms of its various byproducts, commercial and otherwise.