H signs 2020-current

I am chilled by the language and rhetoric in the political atmosphere.

I hear speech that indulges, validates and manipulates fears and resentments. It is speech which puts blame on entire groups of people exposing a cruel willingness to harm others. It is hate being utilized as a tool used to get votes and gather power at the expense of justice, truth and compassion. It tears the world apart.

It is the covertness in the usage of hate as a tool that is so agonizing, however clumsy and obvious. The language of innuendo and “dog whistles” is used to hide behind and provide deniability, while delivering a pernicious message. That is what disturbs in a special way.

These artworks are not intended as neutral exploration nor overt commentary. They are a response to the disquiet I feel, a counter measure. The works are simplistic, objects making shown what is hidden. I call them “H signs”.

Instead of being obscured and implied I want to make that message exposed and visual, able to be seen and examined. In the grammatical context, I want to show the verb without its object.

For artwork that I make, the motivations, topics and intentions have usually been a bit less nameable. Philip Guston referred to the failure of art that “disappears into meaning”, and I agree.  

I listen to an inner dialogue of form and materials, of aesthetics and associations that keeps me curious in exploration and discovery. My ambition is for my work to have resonance with others who could be enticed and willing to engage. There is a common element to this group of artworks that is obvious and nameable, but I think each individual work offers its own room to be pondered and experienced.

As a form and function the commercial sign fits my needs as a model for communication, and expression.

As an idiom I am moved by the inventiveness and the direct engaging clarity of commercial signage: the flashing “VACANCY/NO VACANCY” on the motel sign, the bowling alley sign with its animated neon “STRIKE!”. In signage, as in art, materials, form, and images combine, telling a story.

RACKETS 2012-2021

“Rackets” are a group of wall mounted sculptures made between 2012 and 2021. 

When making these I was modelling and guided by the format, functionality and visual presence of American commercial signage as an effective contrivance for communication. These works have a frontality, and a three-dimensionality, the way the highway motel sign or bowling alley sign can exists as 2-dimensional image to be read at a distance, and up close as a sculptural presence carving and defining the space around its disparate parts. 

These works refer to themselves, and outwards to the world. The results are a visual and symbolic narrative in between the literal and poetic. 

Each work would begin with a seed of an idea or feeling about a photograph, a piece of wood, or something less concrete. The elements took on new identities as each work progressed and components were altered, adjusted, readjusted, and knitted together into a whole. 

These works both are both sculptures and paintings.   

These were made with a variety of materials including, wood, photographs, epoxy, paint, aluminum, fabric, beadwork and paper, etc.