The White Columns Curated Artist Registry is an online catalog of digital images documenting the work of artists who are not affiliated with a commercial gallery in New York City. Each submission is reviewed by our curatorial staff; in order to be considered for the registry, one must submit work digitally via this website.
Language operates through binary opposition, and sculpture operates in between. Through my work in sculpture, I have tried to explore this visual/verbal continuum- how to put words to input. I think about looking, and then how do you share- what are the common terms, if any? Whenever we look, we project coherence onto whatever we look at, a mental graft on a visual one- an act of naming and knowing. We get very good at it because we do it over and over again. Because of the speed with which we process what we look at, we automatize perception, and so I just like to think about ways to slow down the process- to look now, look again.
The mobiles, which comprise the bulk of the submitted portfolio certainly started there- the naive experience of the first look, and trying to see again such a staid type of art, and enjoy it the same way I might have the first time. More recently, I have thought about the mechanics of perception and considered sustained attention and perception in relation to formal concerns. I am interested in the capacity of a thought held to center the body and the capacity of an abstract formal language to be activated through the relationship to the body, awareness, and thresholds of sensory input.
What interested me about the elemental form of the mobile, a staple in art and also cognitive development, was how it resembled the visual form linguists use to demonstrate how a sentence works grammatically, the parse tree, a pedagogical tool for unpacking the mechanics/syntax of language. Since both the mobile and the sentence tree are composed of nodes and branches, I adopted the mobile to point to the paradoxes, and strangeness of language, to demonstrate, in a visual way, the slipperiness of naming and knowing, between nonsense and meaning. The mobiles perform the function of abstraction in two ways- flattening visually and informationally. They reduce consumer objects to geometric shapes, lines, and colors. The object selected for a mobile are unremarkable and defy distinct product categories—there is little nostalgic or aesthetic value to them, most are almost disposable. The works break down and rebuild language, both visual and grammatical, in an effort to look at the language’s universality, ambiguity, and our understanding of grammar, while making the familiar unfamiliar. Noam Chomsky’s premise of an "innate" universal sense of grammar, the idea that grammar feels intuitively right, served as a jumping off point. The individual titles of the mobiles are modeled on Chomsky’s famous example that poetically illustrates the paradoxes of language. “Colorless green ideas sleep furiously,” is a sentence he composed, in 1957, as an example of a sentence that is logical, grammatically speaking, yet nonsensical in meaning. The titles, playing on this idea, generally consist of a sentences generated from the structures and objects in the pieces, or strings of symbolic characters tagging the structure of the mobile sculpture. I am still working with this group of works. The failed promise of modernism is that its language of "pure" abstraction remains a hermetic code to many. I am working with IBM Watson to "read" these works, in the way I was taught when I was young to unpack visual codes, while addressing the myriad of theoretical concerns that come up with flattening information in our mediated environment.
More recent projects explore the relationship between sculptural forms, patterns, and locating perception in the body, and not in the instantaneous look. Rods and cones are a reference to the mechanics of perception- the photo receptors in the eye. The first piece was a simple cone in brass, with a telescoping stem. It is a hearing aid, and intended to facilitate activated listening. The cone is literally an empty form, and also an object of transmission- in that it conducts and amplifies sound. I invited another artist to perform the object. She mimed the experience of ecstatic listening. Her inverted Chet Baker character is overwhelmed by her heightened perception, really “feeling it” with every inch of her body. The drawn out pantomime of this work is meant to point to slowing down that experiential process, and locating it within the body. The rod pieces are simple combinatorial series, made up of lengths of lightning rods; elbows, lengths, with pointy ends are able to be dynamically configured in space by the viewer. The series of rods are also conduits, being made from lightning rods. I want to play with different scales of these two objects, referencing progressions of modular structures. I am also making cast elliptical tops after forms called a rattleback.. The weight is disproportionately distributed so that the spinning motion is upset by a buildup of irregular rocking. The form eventually reverses its own motion by an indecisive motion.