What is my artwork about?
My work suggests a continuum between the familiar, functional objects we have in our homes, and art objects we’re accustomed to seeing from a distance in galleries and museums.
These sculptures pull from the materials, structures, scale and modes of display associated with domestic objects and jewelry, while engaging with the grammar of Minimalism and Geometric Abstraction which historically have been ways for artists to remove their work from specific references. At each stage of my process, I seek to negotiate a point between these two poles as I try to find forms that are at once familiar and rarified, specific and abstract.
I’m currently working on a series of small sculptures which draw on the kind of charged, particular relationships that we have with the jewelry that we wear. Jewelry and metal ornaments more broadly have historically played an important role in commemorating personal ritual, and they still do today. Jewelry is permitted an emotional symbolism, and a degree of sentimentality, that contemporary visual art is not. In borrowing from the material and structural vocabulary of jewelry, I want to shift the often removed viewer-art relationship more towards a subjective owner-jewelry one, towards something more intimate.
This project, titled ‘Sculptures for Margaret’ is named for the jewelry designer Margaret De Patta whose work engaged a dialog between fine art, design, and craft through rigorously sculptural work informed by Constructivist ideals and her education at the Chicago Bauhaus. This project responds to her work by combining materials associated with jewelry and allusions to wearability, with references to 60’s and 70’s minimal and environmental sculpture, 19th c. Viennese silver objects, ancient Egyptian bronze and gold metalwork, as well as the more humble and every-day: playground equipment, children’s toys, tape dispensers, and tableware. Sized for domestic spaces like a bookshelf or windowsill, their scale refers to objects we not only see but touch, own, and live with in our homes, even if that domestic context or personal attachment must be imagined.
While steeped in histories of abstraction, my work is intrinsically bound to the particularities and rhythms of my life. It’s a product of the scale of the spaces in which I live, the things I look at deliberately, the things I see circumstantially, and the duration and quality of time that I have to work.
There is a particular kind of intimacy that develops between me and my pieces over the course of working on them. My process is slow and deliberative. Decisions are hinged on striking the right balance between something that looks familiar and something that is unknown. I try to find forms which feel ‘right’ at their scale – they are neither models for something larger nor ‘real’ jewelry. I am intimately involved in every stage of their making and continue to study silversmithing in order to fabricate each by hand, a labor-intensive process which has intensified my relationship to them, and also to the traditions of studio jewelry and metalsmithing.
My approach to the installation of my work seeks to reflect and invoke my own relationship to it by encouraging viewers to have their own private, close encounters. I hope that this work occupies a strategic place between the familiar and the rarified, the specific and the abstract – sparking a lived, intimate relationship between viewer and object.
2009 Yale University School of Art, New Haven, Connecticut, MFA, Painting
2004 Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, Rhode Island, BFA, Printmaking
European Honors Program, Rhode Island School of Design, Rome, Italy
The Drawing Center, Lineage: Selections, New York, New York
Participant Inc, Nothing Up My Sleeve, New York, New York
Rema Hort Mann Foundation Grant Nominee2009
Helen W. Winternitz Award, Yale University School of Art
Fleisher/Ollman Gallery, The Usefulness of Useless Things, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
United States Artists Nominee
‘Greater New York’ at MoMA PS1, New York, New York Awards
Haystack Open Studio Residency (awarded)
MacDowell Colony Residency Fellowship, Visual Arts
Essay ‘Yes, But, and Still’ published in Ohio Edit
Invisible Exports AMC edition and interview with Jonathan Berger (August artist)
Grace Church School High School, New York, New York
Visual Art Coordinator, Art Teacher
Trinity College, Hartford, Connecticut
Visiting Assistant Professor
Housatonic Community College, Bridgeport, Connecticut