To gain an existential foothold human beings must be able to orient themselves; they have to know where they are. But they also have to identify themselves with the environment, that is, they have to know how they are in a certain place. All cultures have developed "systems of orientation" to define who and where they are, systems which are often derived from natural structures in the environment. A concrete term for environment is place. It is common usage to say that acts and occurrences take place. In fact it is meaningless to imagine any happening without reference to a locality. Place is evidently an integral part of existence. 1 (artist's synopsis from Genius Loci: Towards a Phenomenology of Architecture by Christian Norberg-Schulz)
My work poses elements from landscape against architectonic and scientific constructions as a means of articulating both the tragic and humorous complexities of contemporary Place. As the constructed environment steadily eclipses the natural world, mediated experience gradually replaces our direct interaction with our surroundings. This changes who we are and likewise reconstructs our sense of Place in the world.
The Place of my work is the Garden. As a cultivated border between civilization and wilderness, the Garden is a surreal expression of nature tamed, a transformative buffer zone with potential for mystery, exaggeration, and fantasy. The Garden is a hybrid construction of architecture, science and nature, and as such is a place that allows for the exchange of one reality for another. Competing desires for both urban development and panoramic vision; suburban sprawl and paradise lost; and genetic engineering and natural selection can be articulated in this cultivated space.
Within the Garden environment is the potential
for memory and expectation as well as idealization and reality. I use contemporary
building materials such as metal and glass (rather than stone or masonry typically
associated with old garden ruins), to connect my work with the industrial and
technological present rather than the archeological past. Underlying the process
of creating each element is the intention to depict forms in an ambiguous stage
of dormancy so as to suggest both potential and promise as well as quiescence
and death. My work references the mixed blessings of contemporary culture, but
contrasts this objective reality with the idealized remains of historical eras,
such as monuments, pre-industrial orienting devices, and archeological ruins.
Beneath it all, metaphor and ambiguity hold the possibility of revealing the
deeper truths of human experience.