3-D Design, Art Criticism, Furniture, Mixed Media, Sculpture
Artist / Personal Statement
My artwork springs from the human practice of prayer, specifically the practice of expressing prayer and/or religious beliefs in visual form. In spite of an ever-increasing scientific world, the desire to communicate with god(s) through prayer and ritual continues to hold importance for millions of people around the world. What do people pray for? Has prayer changed in the twenty-first century? In what ways have the visual manifestations of prayer changed? In part, these questions form the basis of my artistic exploration.
My method of working is informed by a variety of vernacular and personalized expressions of faith, however the form of my current work is primarily based on a type of ex voto commonly known as a milagro. The resulting artworks address the practice of prayer in a visual language constructed from the products and by-products of consumer and visual culture. I use the silver surface of the inside of aluminum soft drink cans, brass nails, electric nightlights, air fresheners, appropriated images, and found objects. These everyday objects and materials are transformed for spiritual expression referencing precious materials like silver and gold. Likewise, the use of electricity, nightlights, and plug-in air fresheners also make reference to the spiritual world—power, light, fragrance, and story.
In the Western industrialized world, especially in America, people engage in making visual vernacular expressions of faith from the detritus of material culture. While many people still identify with organized religion, their beliefs have been tempered by the freedoms that democratic governments have provided and the resulting “individualism” valued by people living under these conditions. While organized religions have prescribed rituals, traditions, and visual expressions of those traditions, the manner in which people actually practice and express their faith often differs from institutional doctrine. In order to cope with the human condition, people live their beliefs through various forms of personalized expressions, outside of, or as an extension of organized religious practices, and in some cases, interpret doctrine in unorthodox ways.
Traditional images and objects of organized religion still have the power to inspire, however many people feel disconnected from these images and take matters into their own hands, creating images and objects to fulfill unmet spiritual needs, or to make sense of religious doctrine by translating them into their specific cultural perspective. America is a melting pot of cultural perspectives, yet “popular culture” seems to unite everyone. In part, the history of art is the history of peoples’ spiritual beliefs and practices. My work continues that tradition—not necessarily from an institutional perspective, but how faith is questioned, practiced, and visually expressed in everyday life by everyday people using a visual language constructed from popular and consumer culture.
Accomplishments / CV
1988 M.F.A. (Sculpture) University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM
1986 M.A. (Sculpture) University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM
1984 B.A. (Sculpture) Greenville College, Greenville, IL