You could call my work a visual diary filled with queer and peculiar images and artifacts representing a personal and at times an imagined history. I make things that are in response to what I experience; what I can get close enough to in order to see it clearly. The fragments of a life can be drawn, sculpted and pieced together to convey an emotion, and reconstruct a story.
My work is comprised of bodies, altars, vessels, and objects, which operate like rebus pointing to queer and peculiar narratives. I like to explore memory, history, and magic. I make my work by hand in my studio and invest a lot of attention into materials and building up layers of a surface, through line, texture and detail. I work intuitively, and I use a lot of different materials including painting, drawing, collage, ceramics, sculpture, printmaking and performance.
I was born in 1968 in Camden, New Jersey, to a family of artists, writers, musicians, bootleggers, and trouble-makers. We moved north, where I grew up with my time split between the outskirts of New York City, the slums of Philadelphia, and a farm on the banks of the Delaware River where I learned to swim with snakes. The visual and performing arts, and the natural world inspired my initial forays into painting and sculpture. Early on I was fascinated by the social sculptures of Joseph Beuys, graphic work of Ben Shahn and the prints of Corita Kent, as well as my family’s hand-made quilts, and the stoneware jugs made by local potters.
Living and working in New York City, I find endless inspiration from the city’s physical landscape and the cultural clash of its people. An evolving series of sketchbooks capture an eclectic succession of observed and imagined drawings that I create on daily subway rides en-route to my studio. The imagery in my sketchbooks contain recurring categories of genre: Still lives various domestic and imagined objects prescient of future sculpture; Pots drawings of vessel forms with abstracted surfaces and textures; Portraits of family, friends, and strangers on a train; Talking Points fragments of over–heard conversations, phrases, and poetry; and Abstractions cryptic depictions and doodles of point, line, texture and form. These drawings led directly to the creation of A Congregation of Wits, a series of over forty prints, one thousand drawings, and animations. They also reveal the preliminary working through of ideas for Memento, Pentimento; an ongoing body of sculptures and paintings reminiscent of the domestic altars and still lives I grew up with. I think a life can be understood best by looking at the artifacts we surround ourselves with.