Artist’s statement 1/6/17 (sans 4th paragraph 1/9/17)

Since approximately 1970, I’ve made an effort to combine 20th Century abstraction, which first drew me into art in the 1950’s, with visual metaphor and allegory. My subject matter had been pure form, but then shifted to accommodate my interest in human affairs — in aspiration, achievement, failure, and in acts of will, endurance, adaptation. The forces which shape these things are formidably complex, and often so apparently capricious that despite our collective knowledge, we understand them only imperfectly.

Although my work deals primarily with the motivations (or simply the acts) of others, I can obviously respond only through my own unique experience. I want my work to reflect what appears before me — every variety of human reaction to a world filled with ambiguity, paradox, and impossible choices — relating to issues of utmost consequence, and triviality. My own ontological views are inevitably revealed through the work even when I disguise them, but my purpose is not to hammer the viewer over the head.  I see my role as an observer (and too often, collaborator) — stunned, amused, amazed, occasionally inspired, by turn.  I feel some solidarity with Voltaire and Swift, who were able to come to terms with the chaos of this ‘best of all possible worlds.'

I accomplish what I’m after mostly using existing (found) parts, from a large variety of sources.  When I can’t find a pre-existing component needed for a given piece, I make it myself in the appropriate material. Over the years I have increasingly installed my sculpture on walls, for the neutral ground they provide. Most pieces have a narrative character, and the wall interferes least with what is taking place. All objects, natural or man-made, contain recognizable connotations.  I use associations contained in form which may be relatively universal, or culturally specific (from the clearly apparent to the obscure) to convey my own intent in a given piece.  Single works are often comprised of three distinct parts, pulled into interaction by proximity.  Usually, one of these parts acts as a modifier, in a dialog which would have no meaning without it. Although I use components that often require close scrutiny, my hope is to entice (or maybe provoke) the viewer into an experience which may be as demanding, and despite its frustrations, as rewarding as the one I go through in wrestling the work into being. That experience will certainly differ, depending on what we each bring to it, but neither of us has to worry about a “correct” reading.  I’m less interested in an elusive truth than in the human dance around it.

Finally, I consider most of my sculpture a fragile symbiosis. I want it to achieve a visual sensuality which is at once part of and independent of “other” content. That pure visual quality is perhaps less at the heart of my work now than at the beginning, but for me it still provides a critical transformation.