My work is an investigation into the nature of mind as it relates to the search for knowledge and insight. Through it I am attempting to understand what knowledge is and how it is shared. By proxy, this requires me to consider the languages that we use to think, to speak, and to think about thinking. In this regard, I am specifically interested in exploring the successes, failures, and limits inherent in our conception of language. My work equally questions what language, as a tool, offers to the descriptive qualities of knowledge and the slippages, abstractions, and obfuscations that often occur between language and ideas.
Words and letters are slippery things.
Ideas are equally slippery.
Over time I have grown increasingly skeptical of the linear structure required for communication. There is a disconnect, it seems, between the way we think and the way we package and present thoughts, questions, and ideas. I do not think in any semblance of a linear fashion. My mind operates in a way that is more everything all at once. My studio, being the most comfortable and productive extension of my mind, operates in a similar fashion. At any given point I am actively phasing between upwards of 10 bodies of work that both feed off of and inform the others. Working this way affords me a certain kind of precision within each line of thinking while also affording me the freedom to explore the gaps in my research, the contradictions in my reasoning, and the regions of my mind that have not yet been cleanly defined or reduced. Each process that I create co-opts and subverts traditional sources of information such as books, articles, and notes to explore the nature of language as it relates to the search for knowledge and meaning. The paintings, installations, videos, sculptures, and resurfaced objects that I make are ways for me to engage with the questions that language is not equipped to address.
Some projects, such as /tāp/ǝ and /wərd/(z), are haptic resting places that occupy time while I solve problems and ask questions for other projects. Different projects such as, in·ar·tic·u·lateˌ(inärˈtikyələt)/ knowl·edge and ˈpräˌses(iNG) ˈprōˌses serve as experiments in which I test the metaphorical limits of materials, ideations, and linguistic composition. While others, such as rəst/(ed) /bo͝ok/(s) and /ˈhīˌlīdər/ serve as superficial answers or statements – not intended to last, but rather, intended to immediately be deconstructed and reanalyzed based on the new (hopefully better) questions that their exploration provided.
Each project is uniquely defined with its own set of questions, materials and processes. For example, /SHēt/s, an extension of, in·ar·tic·u·lateˌ(inärˈtikyələt)/ knowl·edge, utilizes transfers of marginalia from my reading of two chapters on consciousness from Jaegon Kim’s, Philosophy of Mind. The transfers are suspended in mercurial layers of mirror and glass. Traces and fragments of the moments of insight (or evidence of questions sparked during a read) appear and disappear in ever changing reflections. These markings are occurrences of my mind being made visible as it reckons with understanding. The content from each chapter has been removed leaving only marginalia as evidence of an investigation. Rhetorical questions, comments, underlines, and asterisks become trapped in a reflexive loop of material that annotates both the viewer’s reflection and the environment as a whole. All original content has been removed from the pages, replaced with inquisitive poses of the viewer in the act of viewing. The evidence of searching for knowledge, meaning, and understanding is thus suspended on the reflection of the viewer’s face and their surroundings.
Over time I have developed a fluid approach to materials and means. Everything is loaded with content. The challenge is learning how to unpack it and reorganize it. The project ˈpräˌses(iNG) ˈprōˌses harness two disparate materials to explore the ever changing nature of language and users’ reticence to adapt. Rust has a specifically interesting history. It is imbued with referents of age and decay, the forgotten and unimportant, unwanted and discarded. As a result, when rust is used as a painting material, not only is the content of the painting questioned, but the history of the object itself is called in to question. Rust-Oleum, in contrast, is a superficial industrial preservative. It is used as a veneer to fix objects that are prone to change into a stagnant and impermeable state. The project, ˈpräˌses(iNG) ˈprōˌses, engages with two texts that are meticulously painted letter for letter onto canvas with an iron-based emulsion. The first is a theoretical text, The Growth of Language, published in 1902. The second is Jorge Luis Borges’ short story, The Library of Babel, that fictions a world, or infinite library, in which every possible arrangement of the 25 basic characters exist in books that present as seemingly random and apparently meaningless. Nevertheless, the narrator rejects the notion that any of the books within the library are meaningless. In some of the paintings, Rust-Oleum is sprayed across the transcribed text. In others, the iron is left exposed. As each painting oxidizes areas that are not thoroughly coated in Rust-Oleum begin to bleed with reds, orangs, browns, and greens. Areas that are thoroughly “preserved” are only just. For the act of preservation, in fact, obfuscates and, thus, redacts them from legibility.
When viewed appropriately, one understands that language is merely a tool. As speech is a series of abstract phonemes arranged in /səCH/ (ə)n/ səCH a way to produce “meaningful utterances”, so too, written symbols are merely a series of abstract forms arranged in /səCH/ (ə)n/ səCH a way to reference the sounds of abstract utterances:
… Aa1/ā,ə/, Bb1 /bē/, Cc1 /sē/…
As with any tool, there exists what it can do, what it could do, and what it fails to do. Similarly, I understand that each of my projects have limits. That is why I am constantly developing new ones.
I process fast. Like a toddler smashing words together attempting to convey something meaningful, I often throw everything I have at every piece. At the beginning of each new project this results in overly fragmented run-on sentences that are all too often meaningless to anyone but myself…
It takes time to settle down…
I’m still settling…
As I work through each new idea, new rules for new visual languages emerge from the inarticulate spaces of ideation. Soon thereafter, the dross separates enabling me to pare down the ideas and select the appropriate materials, forms, and processes required for the project(s) at hand. In much the same way that the evolution of language requires fractures, fractals, and subsets in order to develop more accurate descriptive qualities, I view each project in my interdisciplinary approach to making as sort of tool that has a specific use and function. Language, ideas, questions, theories, knowledge etc. everything is in a constant state of flux. New words are created to discuss new ideas and technologies, which inevitably require new sorts of questions and commentary, thus driving the next batch of ideas. It is questionable if knowledge is ever really accessed or if the pursuit of knowledge is not for the purpose of acquisition, but for the process itself. In the end the whole of my work rests as secondary signifiers. They are not themselves knowledge. Instead, they are the residue of a search and indications that knowledge, insight, and understanding exists, even if only in abstracted, unformed, and constantly fleeting realms.
And so… I keep searching.