A public aspect of my work started with an intergenerational dialogue with Mary Miss, a pioneering ecofeminist artist from the 70s. Miss’ early sculptures have inspired me to get out of the studio and work directly on site. I have been focused on one sculpture in particular, Portable Window, that Miss made in 1968. With Miss’ endorsement, my adaptations create a family tree of sculptures reimagined from her original. The sculpture is essentially a big wheel, with handles and a rectangle window that frames a view. Miss prioritized an unscripted experience for artist and viewer to engage in our surroundings that emphasizes being on site, reframing a view, and collaborating with community. I am guided by Miss’ words: “Priorities: Breathing space, human scale, and firsthand experience.” Sculpture has the ability to give back and empower these fundamental rights.
With a jig attached to Portable Window, I’ve generated a lot of videos captured while rolling the sculpture. While our digital culture has made it incredibly easy to frame and take pictures without restraint, Portable Window slows down and makes framing our surroundings a more physical act in sync with our bodies. The videos are an extension of the sculpture and capture what the sculpture is, in a sense, framing. This slow flipping is how it often feels right now. Observing calm, and even beautiful in moments, but then seamlessly moving to disorienting and dizzy, a rupturing of the frame. Uncertainty. Framing space usually helps to formalize composition, but these videos frame in order to destabilize and disorient. The landscape tilts and turns. What is once familiar is flipped and ruptured.
Rolling Portable Window throughout the last two years of the pandemic has afforded me agency to listen and to talk with strangers. I am further developing ways in which my work can engage the public with mobility and simple means. Currently in the studio I am creating flowers that use movement to instigate a dialogue with the viewer. Giving the flowers movement instigates an exchange and suggests a language of protest. It emboldens the relationship of the flowers in an awkward jiggle that is both funny and forced, but approachable. The experience goes beyond the object. Our troubled relationship with our natural resources is activated. Yes- let's talk more to flowers.
I have been casting flowers in rubber for several years and have a growing archive from the last few growing seasons. Taking the fragile beauty of a bloom and casting it in the industrial ruggedness of rubber is a way to express a larger dynamic with our surroundings. The flowers take on an aggressive presence when transformed into rubber. They embody perseverance and mobility- qualities we crave after these past two years. There is a lot of trial and error in my process. I’m not looking for complete fidelity to the original. Rather, I welcome a sculptural combination that embraces my touch, the flower’s details, and the surprise of material trace and transformation.