My recent work is, at its core, a meditation on the transformation of raw material to sculptural object. I have always been fascinated by the visceral nature of traditional well-crafted materials especially when combined with the seductive allure of time-based media. All the wood I use has been locally sourced, milled by me, and worked primarily with hand tools. Now almost 50 and well past my anatomical prime, I have taken up rock climbing and boxing to stay in shape for the sawmill and to reconnect with the base nature of the human body. The videos in this work illuminate the non-narrative, mundane yet often elegant movements in these and other routine activities. One of my goals with the work is to evoke some of the raw beauty of this repetitive physicality.
I also work in theatrical set design for Ten Thousand Things, a theater company that brings some of the best local theater to non-traditional audiences with little access to the wealth of the arts. For their shows there is no lighting except normal house lights, standard dramatic stage effects are unworkable, and the audience seats are at floor level, making sightlines difficult. The wonderful consequence of all this is that each set becomes an intricate assignment for which I am able to explore new and unconventional techniques. Realistic set construction, as we have come to expect in more traditional settings, turns out to be virtually impossible, so here I must rely on the collective imagination of designer, director, cast, and audience. What ideally result are sets that convince audience members and support the actors in the complex process of make-believe. I have found over the years that this is a remarkable strength of this form of theater: it depends on a two-way exchange between the company and those in the theater seats. When this collaboration works, the results are inspiring.
I consider this aspect of my artistic production integral to and part of my work as a sculptor. My most current projects explore ways in which the two genres of sculpture and dramatic sets might complement, argue, and put pressure on each other. Part of my desire in making sculpture is the drive to dramatize, to enact narrative in time and within space - much as set designs for theater hold the promise of activating the four dimensions when translated into material objects. It is this shared ground that most interests me - namely, how sculpture (especially when using interactive electronic elements (Arduino, sensors, etc..)) and sets might be designed and built in ways that dramatize, animate, enliven, and provoke space that is occupied and observed by viewers and participants; of how time, held still or in passing, might be accounted for in both disciplines when it comes to narrative flow; and how the elements of dimension, materials, lighting, script/language, portability/ movement might find unorthodox applications in altered sculptural and theatrical contexts, particularly in terms of interactive, site-specific, and installation work.