I Eye Witness, 2015-2017
I Eye Witness Series began in 2015 in my studio as an accident. I was already working with slate on other projects and when you work with it you realize half the time the slate just falls apart completely in your hands and breaks, shattering in pieces on the floor. It's part of the process - but as the broken pieces accumulated on my studio floor I began to see in them faces and body parts of animals (human, non-human). I marked these with Chinese ink and put them on my wall, not thinking much but liking them. Soon after I had a studio visit with Peter Mandradjeff, the painter, who was curating a show. He liked the new work and wanted to include it. I was skeptical as it felt too fresh, and unfinished, but I installed it on gallery wall as a fragmented body. I discovered that it worked. The following spring I had a solo show at The Union Hall, in Pittsburgh, to specifically create seven new slate bodies and show them. The work took the shape of half human, half other, all animal, and I enjoyed both the process of making it and the process of seeing it. They seemed to appeal to the general public as well, and the series now continues into its 2nd year. My goals for this work are to continue to build these as wall installations that get bigger and more and more complicated, with not just 60 fragments of slate but 600. I want to see how they operate when suspended in the air, brought off the wall and into the room itself, and what happens when they take over the floor. I see these as witnesses - a hybrid form of species that is I, and Eye, and you, and she. They are all animal - both human and non-human. The circumstances happening around the time they are "born" are deeply influential to them, and what forms and informs them comes from whatever is orbiting my personal life at the time, as well as the dominant headlines in the news. As a bedrock foundation, however, they are concerned with the ongoing onslaught that all living systems currently face - mass extinction and habitat loss. Human and non-human, again. There is a consistent current in the story they are narrating - as characters - that they themselves are free to tell. Their individual stories will one day be written as a complement to this visual work. Right now, I am interested in how this work operates between sculpture and drawing - and only becomes realized as a wall installation. Inspired by both the great tradition of mural art as a political tool, and the walls of the great Natural History Museums, I like thinking of these bodies as future fossils - maybe the remnants of them will be discovered long after I am gone as a way to put back together the pieces of the strange and surreal puzzle we are currently experiencing as a global, living, system. I am thinking about the sixth mass extinction, my own queerness, otherness, the female energy, and the actual body itself - its multiplicitous ways, its fragility and strength, its endlessness and mortality.