I started off as a visual artist over two decades ago. Some years after completing my BFA in photography, I made an abrupt break from art that lasted almost a decade. I’d come to a point where visual representation no longer held meaning for me; I felt that I could no longer just take in images of visual works. Seeking different ways of thinking about the complex socio-economic-political realities of our world, I turned to philosophy.
This was a time in which I deeply questioned art, which had once been a refuge for me, nihilistically questioning what I did, aborting ideas before I’d even begun. I questioned the value, role, and production of art; I engaged ethical and epistemological questions in regard to it. Only after attempting to think about the world independently of imagery did (visual) art start to regain value for me. I have put in a lot of work – reflecting and writing to get through this questioning and have gained a renewed meaning of what art is for me and a deepened appreciation for it in all forms.
Since then, I’ve slowly returned to artmaking, starting in the summer of 2016 when I needed “something” to help me stay the course as I continued to emerge from a personally rough past few years. I began, again, in the same way that I had when I first took to art, working intuitively, working contra any compulsion to interpret my work (as one might for a therapist). At least initially. After this period of challenge and confrontation with meaning, a return to art and writing have been a way of reconstituting ground.
I am convinced that art, in any medium, is a crucial space for maintaining freedom of thought and expression, a ground that must be held for speech which might not be spoken otherwise. My vision is for my art to be a space to express and nurture desires – for the sensual, erotic, and political - that differ from what we are expected to want. My artistic process in its broadest form is a practice with what is at hand. One aim subsumed under this broad sense of practice is to shift ideas of art and artist away from essentialized notions, especially in regard to production envisioned in the image of mass production and corporate office hours, opening the space for artists to work in whatever way they have to when life is not cooperating for a consistent studio practice.
For me, this currently looks like working with the limitations and challenges of what is at hand. This is not solely about materials. It’s about work inspired by and produced during quotidian activities, such as walks, and the many hours spent in solitude in the latter half of my life. I see this work, no matter the subject it takes, as expressing a commitment and calling attention to this world, this life, as the only world we have and so worth fighting for.
I have a general interest in sound and scent as providing a subconscious, non-propositional index of the (external) world and in photographing my nighttime environment. This isn’t photojournalistic as much as it is a documentation of one of my original sources of aesthetic experience. There’s a tension between the art objects produced and my intention. I do not want to romanticize or aestheticize my circumstances. The art object is not a justification for the virtues of poverty but evidence of humanity, dignity. It is a product of a search for beauty, for love, for justice. Thematic interests include time: the coexistence of linear and cyclical time, and the impulse to account for one’s time here, one’s time lived.
I also see my interrupted practice as challenging notions of what art is, though not in regard to object or analysand but in regard to agency - my artistic practice seemingly a broken line.