Thursday, October 29, 2009

A (semi) Brief Artist Statement

I've been told by many people who came to my show to come up with an explanation to my current thesis: EVERYTHING MUST GO! It's kind of like a frequently asked questions section to all who were completely baffled or will be soon baffled by the stuff in the show. So first some background...

The theme for EVERYTHING MUST GO! came from a visit to an old pseudo-hometown in Michigan that I had once considered as close resemblance to what I would have called a 'rural' farming community. I had not visited nor had seen what had happened to it for many years. I had found most of the town empty and stores all gone out of business to be replaced instead by random historic landmarks. Many of the landmarks had once been diary farms or trains that I remembered were still in existence, but somehow turned into museums in order to preserve the authenticity of the town.

I tracked down my fourth grade teacher and was told to visit this old school house that was one of the town's attractions and found it next to a brand new elementary school surrounded by a pristine white picket fence. It looked something like a cross between abraham lincoln's study room and a gold mining ride ride at an amusement park. Some things almost looked convincingly old and other things, like a plastic folding table and plastic garbage bags in a barrel made it look kind of sad even though it was presented as historical fact. What was even funnier to me was the fact that I could not even go inside the historic schoolhouse. I stood from the outside looking into one of the windows standing on an AC unit. It was very pristine looking and painted with fresh coats of white paint. It also had a historic outhouse next to it that was painted with the same tender care complete with shingles and a little black crescent moon painted on the front.

What intrigued me was the idea of a fabricated past or a past that one could only imagine to be real. I started to think my idea of this town was also a fabrication of my own experience and decided to construct my own historical landmark of my memories. I took houses and barns from the town in addition pictures of houses and tool sheds that looked like barns in Home Depot catalogues and painted, cut and pasted them all into my constructed world. I remade the outhouse next to the historical schoolhouse and made an animation that was supposed to be layered with video clips of my past and present inside the outhouse. I also made the house intentionally inviting, but you could only look through the hole I cut in the door instead of being allowed inside. My purpose was to conceptually flush out all my assumptions and associations with the past in order to readily open myself to the future.

Question: Why did I put in the shadow on the floor?

My intention was to make the house relevant to the space it was in by transforming it like a painting. I wanted it to somehow act like a painting in that it had the ability to transform its surroundings into another space and time. hence, I painted the outhouse different colors to try to imitate a fake sunset and its shadow.

Question: Why do I cut out my paintings?

I cut and paste things into paintings because I want to emphasize the temporality of human experience, I want the disjointed to be apparent even if it is a picture of something mundane like the site of a suburban town. I believe that all memories, like how we edit our scrapbooks can be edited constantly to fit our attitudes and needs for the time being. I also think very circularly and in fragments in order to make sense of things. Therefore, I can only take information in pieces and sections and treat it with all the crudeness of a person who is afraid of losing sight of the thing that they want to capture. Almost like recording a dream.