“The artist, Marcel Duchamp said, is a “mediumistic being” who does not really know what he is doing or why he is doing it. It is the spectator who, through a kind of “inner osmosis”, deciphers and interprets the work’s inner qualifications, relates them to the external world, and thus completes the creative cycle” (as cited by Tompkins, 1976, 9). I am drawn to the non-verbal dialogue visual art creates and I also believe it is presumptuous to assume that there are corresponding words in any language for every thought and emotion produced by the human mind.
My pictures are generally figurative, but they also include taxidermy and still life objects which I share an affinity with. I use my friends, family, and myself as subjects, and I combine them with intricate pattern, imagery from instructional pamphlets, and obscure source material that is indicative of contemporary society. I primarily paint in oils, but I draw in a variety of mediums, and experiment with cut paper.
I draw in a variety of mediums, and experiment with cut paper. My works have no specific ideas in that there is nothing I am trying to literally communicate through symbols in each work, and as a result my art tends to have a purposeless retinal appeal, but this is not to say I am not striving toward a conceptual end. My ambition is most aligned with a conclusion made by John Cage in response to “the Zen idea of ‘waking up to the very life we are living’.” This quote and Cage’s response came as a result of attending Dr, Daisetz T.Suzuki’s lectures on Zen Buddhism at Columbia University. Cage added, “Music, then, should not be concerned primarily with entertainment, or communication, or the symbolic expression of the artist’s ideas and tastes, but should rather perform the specifically useful function of helping men and women to attain a more intense awareness of their own life, not only in the concert hall but during every waking moment” (as cited by Tompkins 1976, 100). Though I do not compose music, I feel Cage’s sentiment is indicative of art as a whole.
As of late, I have been experimenting with a chance procedure to create drawings. In an attempt to create a work true to its concept, I have developed a system of drawing that has taken aesthetic decisions somewhat out of my hands. By assigning values, positions, lengths, and directions to letters of the alphabet, then selecting letters with the word game Boggle™; I record the data into charts. The charts then give me the appropriate information to plot lines on to an x, y coordinate system and thus render a very minimal drawing. This chance-based drawing system—very specific though also arbitrary—creates a work of art based on questions I pose to it. I ask how long the longest line should be and Boggle™ produces a line, which falls between zero and the longest mark. The randomness of the chance drawings appeals to me. I see similarities between the arbitrary existence of lines created by the Boggle™ system and the random existence of opportunities or disadvantages in my life.