Artist Statement February 2013
The structure that I think about is not strong. It is teetering, fragile and just barely holds things together. Metaphorically, this structure is the scaffolding that is the connection between humans. It is also the network that connects humans to their natural world.
Within my human community I think about the give and take of support from and by individuals that it takes to hold a community together. I think about whom I relate to, or define as my community. In my recent sculptures I have been using the house as a metaphor for humans, a single house an individual, and a cluster of houses a community of people. This gives me the opportunity to explore the intangible, my feelings regarding a sense of community and my search to belong.
Housedress explores whom I relate to in my community. Within this piece is my somber acknowledgement of the fact that I relate to and gravitate toward a community that I can never really be a part of. The house structures on Housedress, are similar to shantytowns with shared walls and barely held together roofs. I relate to these structures in part because they exist via a resourcefulness that is not visible in other communities. I feel connected to this community, yet will always be separate. Like the clothing I wear, I am of it, but not truly. Housedress is wearable, part of me for a brief moment. I can be in it and of it and it can provide a temporary sense of shelter and belonging. Within this work is the search for my community and my yearning to belong.
In realizing my need for a sense of community, I wonder if I can build a community wherever I go. Backpack is my exploration of this question. Backpack, is a tangible cluster of houses, and also a metaphor for the invisible support system that I hope to be able to take with me anywhere. As an individual I strive for the ability to build a community, to take support from it, and to give back to it, wherever and whenever I need it. Within Backpack is also the responsibility I feel to carry and care for my community. The skill of community-building, anyplace and anywhere, provides comfort to me as I live in what I feel to be a teetering structure of existence.
Regarding my future works, I am conceptually juggling thoughts about struggle, physical strength, burden, and an individual’s maximum carrying capacity. Using a low-tech approach I create my sculptures with low-resource materials specific to where I am living. This process provides what I need to survive, a connection to my place and the people around me.
The relationships we have with each other and our environment are not perfect. This is a point of sadness, but I have a hopeful acceptance of this tenuousness. There can be a grace to living on the edge, teetering on the brink, standing on shifting ground. This place of unease is a place of change and its discomfort can spur innovation and resourcefulness and a reconnect with each other and the environment that we desperately need in order to survive.