Artist Statement

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Medium. Materials. Participation. Process. Working across a variety of media, I find a multi-disciplinary practice to be the most fitting approach for the execution of my ideas. While I will find an affinity for particular materials (such as feathers, satin fabric, or steel) and use them from one work to the next, the idea often subordinates the medium. Therefore, I choose the medium and materials that are most apropos to the concept, often combining different media within an installation format (usually 3-dimensional objects and video), providing a multi-layered realization of the idea.

Many factors contribute to my work. For many years, a hallmark of my work has been engagement with my local environment. Harvesting natural materials from the landscape, while living in Colorado many years ago, led me to collect found objects from the urban environment of after I moved to New York City. Eventually, this engagement transformed into active community participation with my ongoing series of projects entitled, St. Agnieska, Patroness of the Waterfront. Interviews with local artist/activists led to a sound/radio piece where I guide listeners on a riverside journey through North Brooklyn. Here, a strange apparition (my fictitious creation, St. Agnieska, the patron saint of the North Brooklyn Waterfront) makes appearances at various toxic hot spots. These sightings call attention to local environmental concerns and highlight resident activists working on these issues, while over time the story of the mysterious specter is revealed. Since then, this project spawned a series of site-specific sculptures marking the aforementioned toxic sites where Agnieska has appeared. Other long-term interests of mine come to fruition in this body of work, namely hagiography (the study of saints’ lives) and medieval Christian symbolism. “Agnieska” – Polish for “Agnes” – in deference to the local Polish immigrant population, is inspired by the stories of innumerable virgin-martyrs throughout Church history, and named for a Roman saint. Here my choice of visceral materials, such as decaying antique lace and dripping wax, along with Agnieska’s role as a martyr, signify my desire to convey a sense of the body, another enduring feature of my work.

Process is vital to my work, but happenstance plays a role as well. Even though I may know from the beginning that I will construct a particular object, much exploration and investigation – not to mention trial and error – occur along the path to final construction. For instance, oyster shells are not as supple and yielding as fabric for constructing a dress (Oyster Dress, 2003, part of Animal Human Hybrid series). Therefore, many experiments took place before I happened upon the solution: drilling holes in the shells and connecting them to each other with metal hoops. Happenstance comes into play not only in the exploration of materials, but in obtaining materials as well. I have long used found objects for the inherent history they bring to my work. Additionally, I am drawn to found objects for ecological reasons, as a means to give new life to articles cast-off by our disposable society. The challenge lies in altering an object’s original context, so that a transformation takes place within the art-making process.

For me, an important and fulfilling aspect of being an artist is calling the viewer’s attention to overlooked details, be they in the viewer’s everyday surroundings or in the constructed world of a work of art. My involvement in community-based projects over the last few years is but one example of this role. Additionally, I aim to act as some sort of alchemist: to use what may be dubbed “non-traditional” – yet often mundane – materials in order to create an uncanny object that in the end is greater than the sum of its parts.