Years ago / I was an angry young man / I'd pretend / That I was a billboard
Standing tall / By the side of the road / I fell in love / With a beautiful highway
This used to be real estate / Now it's only fields and trees
Where, where is the town / Now, it's nothing but flowers
––“(Nothing but) Flowers,” by Talking Heads, 1988
Like a fragment of fiction that slips into the real world, I use art as a way to insert emblematic moments into our everyday life. In my artwork these moments often take place at points where our natural and constructed worlds intersect. Whether it’s an image, object or action, each piece tends to become its own story. Landscape, both natural and manmade, becomes the stage where they are set. My work––in sculpture, performance, video and photography––exist as discrete myths. Pedestrian and expansive, they unfold like contemporary morality tales.
Over time and without planning, much of the content of my artwork has come to embody consistent themes. The religious rituals that I took part in as a child have had a strong effect on my world view, specifically in the performative use of iconic images and objects. Stories of diligent devotees on difficult pilgrimages––driven and guided by truths larger than themselves––have helped to solidify a basic tenet into my art practice: the use of fantasy as a means toward connecting with reality.
To me, the artwork that I create feels like it’s running parallel to reality without actually being a part of this world. The sculptures that I make are not isolated objects, but theatrical props that are at the service of a narrative; the people in my videos are not professionals, but non-actors doing what they would normally do based on their talent or vocation repositioned into new situations; and though the performative activities that take place in my work are at times prosaic––walking, working, and carrying things––I’d like to believe that they are capable of being transformed into poignant rituals by the narrative and context that surrounds them.
Whether it’s a photograph from a newspaper or something that I happen to walk by, my artwork originates from real world references. Regardless of how important a particular referent may be to a project’s inception, my hope is that a finished piece is strong enough to exist on its own merit. Aiming for an outcome that is more general than specific, I attempt to simplify––or rather expand––the content of my work by allowing it to be temporarily transformed into something less culturally or geographically specific to an outcome that is more open-ended. Whether naturally occurring or staged, real or imagined, my goal as an artist is to create images, objects and actions that tap into a shared visual vocabulary, functioning as icons of our contemporary world.