“Self Portrait as Janus” acrylic on masonite 3”x4”

“Self Portrait as Janus” acrylic on masonite 3”x4”

Artist Statement

I began a series of work at the Kohler Arts/Industry Program; this body of work draws on sources ranging from mythology and early medicine, to contemporary developments like cloning and genetic engineering. Many of these works are dated rather than titled and are presented not as sculpture, but as quasi-historical evidence. In my “Donor Series” each work is dated to commemorate the successful transplantation of various organs. Cast iron organs are cupped in bronze hands and offered to the viewer in a gesture akin to religious martyrdom.

As this body of work has continued to develop, I have made connections between the past and the present, drawing upon and fusing multiple historical references. “Sheep in Swaddling Clothes” was inspired by the first cloned sheep. Swaddling is both a biblical and historical reference. Babies were salted and tightly bound in keeping with the teachings of Galen. This practice actually resulted in the death of many infants. The swaddled sheep are exhibited in multiple as part of a conceptually unlimited edition. They are bound and helpless, a creation of new gods in the laboratory.

“Genetic Incarnation” floats between the contemporary and the mythic. Four fetus’s joined at their center grow from pod like lotuses. Life no longer inhabits the body through the presence of mystical forces or spirit. The creation of life within the laboratory is disquieting because it challenges the sacredness and mystery of creation. It becomes a physical process of production as parts are harvested and combined.

In “The Churning of the Milk” I use video to continue to explore these same ideas. Drawing on a story from the Mahabharata a metaphor, I explore the way that human activity has impacted our environment. A rippling pool of milk comes to symbolize the way we are polluting both the environment and own our bodies.

Recently I have begun a series of watercolors, which at first glance appear to be botanical illustrations. On closer inspection an unfolding flower is made of curling toes, and the petals of a rose reveal an eye lurking in the center. With these paintings I place myself at the intersection between art and science, becoming a contemporary naturalist who has discovered hybrid organisms yet to be created.

My work explores the ways in which technology and culture are interrelated. I believe that technological innovations are not simply forces that shape culture, but are deeply intertwined with the vision of the culture itself. Through visual means, I attempt to place genetics in a larger cultural and historical framework. The language of the scientific diagram fails to make genetics palpable, my work is an attempt to make it tangible. My imagery collapses myth, medical history, and contemporary technology to reveal how science itself has become mythologized.