Light passes through the recycled soap creating an amber glow, while the distinct soap-odor permeates the space. On closer examination, vestiges of human activity are revealed…
Soap Scream, Self Portrait of a Motelier, Hand Collecting Soap, 2009
The “Soap” series has been cast from an amalgamation of small glycerin soap bars originally supplied to guests in my family’s second-generation motel. Leftover and partially used pieces of soap were collected, melted together and the viscous liquid cast into various body-parts.
This collaboration between unknown and unknowing guests and myself, is intensely personal, with a history of numerous interactions: guests renting a room, spending the night and using the small bars of soap to wash away the physical remains of the day. On closer examination, vestiges of human activity are revealed; hair and dirt appear like insects caught in amber. Light passes through the recycled soap creating a glow, while the distinct soap odor permeates the space.
I am constantly amazed by the water that covers this earth and allows us to live. A scientific study of the molecue reveals polarization that allows for ice to be lighter than liquid water and therefore float on our lakes, etc, allowing for underwater life. There are many other strange behaviors with this highly polarized molecule, such as capillary action.
Red, Yellow, Blue and Green, water, ink, plastic water bottles, ice, 18" x 16", 2010
Mirage, size variable, 2008
Google Water, sound of dripping water amplified, water bottles, ice, BMU Upstairs Gallery, CSU Chico, 2008
Water Tableau, water bottles, water, dye, plexiglass, 8' x 8', 2008
Gregory Kondos Gallery, Sacramento, CA, 2006
Clear packaging tape is slowly and carefully pieced together, like knitting or basket weaving…huge, transparent suspended forms sway...
Sirenidae, Gregory Kondos Gallery, Sacramento, CA, 2006
Siren (1) Greek Mythology. One of a group of sea nymphs who by their sweet singing lured mariners to destruction on the rocks surrounding their island. (2) A beautiful, seductive woman; temptress. (3) A device in which compressed air or steam is driven against a rotating perforated disk to create a loud, penetrating whistle, wailing, or other sound as a signal or warning. (4) Any instrument producing a similar sound as a signal or warning. (5) Any of several North American amphibians of the family Sirenidae, having an eel like body and no hind limbs. —The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, p.1210
When I was young I became addicted to making art. I played with sticks and mud and built small forms and as I worked with the materials they evoked powerful feelings in me. This power of a material substance to evoke feelings is what art is about for me. Art is preverbal—it awakens sleepy, subconscious energies. Layers of meaning are revealed, like peeling many onion skins, so that often even the artist doesn’t know all that is manifesting with his/her work. As an example, Georgia O’Keefe repeatedly denied the sexual suggestiveness of her large, obviously sensual flowers. Each viewer brings a different set of life experiences to the work, adding to the complexity and confusion involved in deciphering contemporary art. What the viewer thinks it is, is as important as what the maker thinks it is. Knowing that my art is ambiguous and strangely powerful to me, I searched for a name for this show. As I searched I came across the dictionary definition of “Siren” and found five distinct meanings; all five definitions seemed right for this installation.
Like real human relationships, the forms call to each other, strain for each other, but do not find connection. We search, and try but don’t seem able to fill each other’s desires. The shapes are made from a mass produced, non-art material, packing tape, which is not precious. I like that they are not precious—like Duchamp I am persuaded by the non-art, art object. I patiently press pieces together to form large shapes, like knitting or sewing—women’s work. I also like that, using a work habit that has defined my sex from the beginnings of time. I like the tape itself, ephemeral and beautiful. I build the shapes to mimic organic forms I have seen under the microscope or to be suggestive of fungi growing from trees in the forests of Vermont. They become multicellular “sirens,” seductresses from Greek mythology, alluring and insatiable.
Much like sandcastles these pieces are built to last only a short while and then to be destroyed by time. In this sense they function as a metaphor for our civilization as well. Will we stand the test of time? The sounds filling the installation space alternatively could be “sirens,” as in “Code Orange,” or a fire siren, calling a warning to us as a species—we humans who insist on ignoring all evidence. The tape is a manmade, commercial product representing a society that uses sex to sell ever more products…and, like the sex industry the tape has gone wild taking over the Gregory Kondos Gallery in an almost cellular exuberance. Here, the commercialism of the tape product has been subjugated to the art impulse…creating, existing, without commercial intent.
The gentle swaying of suspended, organic shapes in Tape Drawings provides an initial kinesthetic awareness felt deeply in the viewer’s body. These “machines” are anything but machine-like. They are made of clear packaging tape, slowly and carefully pieced together, like knitting or basket weaving, age-old traditions attributed to the female. The tape is manipulated into an elongated teardrop form. I suspend multiples of these from the ceiling on swivel hooks. The forms sway in response to air currents initiated by the viewers’ movements. Ink refills are inserted into the bulbous ends and paper rectangles are placed beneath. Light flickers from the transparent forms as they gyrate, like performance artists, creating repetitive, linear elements that over time form perfect, circular drawings. This process makes visible the invisible: air, one of Aristotle’s four basic elements. The Tape Drawings are artifacts of this collaborative performance between viewer and air molecules, providing evidence of the collective human presence in the room.