“Scale is a bouillon cube that can condense and hopefully enrich a concept.”
― Charles LeDray
My work often begins with a fixation on a specific object, such as a grocery cart. I begin by
constructing a grocery cart, and ask questions such as, “what is it carrying?” or “why is one
wheel always faulty?” The cinematic image of the spinning grocery cart wheel comes to mind.
Could it represent the absurdity of consumerism-- wandering around a giant store, searching for
food? I study the different aspects of this system: the conveyor belts, the elaborate stacks of
cans, the endless rows of products and choices. What hidden meanings lie within this strange
system? What kinds of mysterious characters maneuver through this system?
I make my sculptures out of very mundane, everyday materials. Often these materials are a
result of my own consumerism, but some of these materials are “intruders” such as junk mail.
The grocery cart for example is a very meta object in that it is sculpted from paper bags and cereal boxes, materials that emanate from the grocery store itself. While this process could be called recycling or upcycling, to me it is no different than going to the the lumber store or the scrapyard to find materials. I find that paper and cardboard, especially those excavated from my own home, ground the work. I often refer to the versatility and humility of cardboard.
As the work grows, this original object of fixation becomes one component in a more complex miniature diorama that conveys, as the philosopher George Perec put it, the “infraordinary”: that which occurs beneath the surface of the everyday. These miniature objects are like toys, but my hope is that the viewer will see these toys as the poet Charles Simic says, “a trap for dreamers. The true toy is a poetic object.” These are not prose objects; they are poetic, expressing submerged messages, and collectively telling undefined stories.
As I drive home after my weekly visit to the grocery store, I see a rogue grocery cart, discarded at a bus stop. This cart has been taken out of context, its meaning immediately changed. This is no longer a device for carrying groceries around a store; it has escaped its expectations, now embarking on a new journey, and possessed of new significance. It is a poetic object, part of a
new mysterious system.